Just two days after the final ball was kicked in Wolves’ memorable first season back in the Premier League, executive chairman Jeff Shi has begun preparations for the fresh campaign.
Promoted from the Championship 12 months ago, Wolves have enjoyed life back in the Premier League, reaching seventh position after an incredible first season following a return to the top-flight.
Now the Premier League campaign is complete, Shi has analysed a successful year for those in gold and black and set out how the club will go about strengthening for next season.
On assessing the past 12 months
“I’m very happy about the achievement and we are at the seventh place, but the most important thing is about making the progress. Every season we want to make the progress for the club and for the team, and so it shows that we are on a very good curve to progress to the next level, and I hope for next season we can keep progressing.
“I think the most important thing is that we are working like a team, and from Nuno, from the team, from us, from all the staff, from the fans, and we are really united, and we are working towards the same direction. I think that’s the most important thing.
“If you want to keep growing and keep on going, especially for a long, long while, I think you have to do something like this. It’s really great to have people around you to work the same way, so I think that’s the most pleasing thing to me.”
On summer work to improve squad
“It’s always two parts; I think the first part is how our players in our squad now, how can they improve for the next season. You can see, for example, Diogo [Jota], he has improved a lot, while some of the players were from the Championship, but you can see that they can handle it very well in the Premier League.
“I think the first thing is that we want to see more growth and more development from the current squad, but the next thing is about how to do something in the window. I think, depending on Nuno’s identity and philosophy, we are very clear about what profile of player we want.
“But it depends on the market. You know what you want and that’s the most important thing, but you also need the market to release the players you want. I cannot say very concretely now, but what I can say is we will work very hard to improve the squad, and also try to compete with the best teams.”
On the early stages of transfer movement
“By my personal experience, it takes time. We have to be patient and we are not just trying to buy the best players in the world, it doesn’t work like that, we have to be patient and wait for the right deal to happen. When we are talking about the right deal, it means the players wants to come to us, and also the club he’s at now wants to sell him or loan him.
“But it doesn’t only depend on us, it’s depending on the market, but currently we are at a better position than the last season. To be honest, in the last season when we were just promoted, I felt some players didn’t want to come because ‘oh, you’re just promoted, maybe you will go down again’.
“Now we have shown that we can be very competitive in the Premier League, and we have also beaten many strong teams which makes the club more attractive to the top players in the world. We have a top coach and a top team, so I think the job will be easier to us, but because we are already here, the requirement for the quality of the players will be higher.”
On the loan before buying approach
“I think it’s a good strategy, but it’s not something we can do always. It’s depending on the market, and sometimes when we are loaning a player, it means the previous club might not need a player at that moment.
“Then they are happy to loan him to us and it’s a good window for us to check the player, while a selling club could also be keen to sell the player when there is a right price. It’s about three parties, as you also need to have a player who is happy to be loaned first before trying his best to join us – like Raul [Jimenez].
“It’s not something we can copy again and again, but if something like that were to happen we would be happy. However, we will still keep the chance to buy some players and we will also have to promote some players from our Academy. It’s a mix.”
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