Jeff Shi checked in back at Wolves for the first time since becoming Executive Chairman by insisting everyone’s focus is on reaching the Premier League next season.
In his first interview since moving to Wolverhampton full time, and on the day the players returned for pre-season training under new Head Coach Nuno Espírito Santo, Jeff revealed that:
• There are no plans to sell Helder Costa and that he is confident the winger is ready to go again for Wolves next season.
• His confidence in the appointment of Nuno is growing with every conversation he has with the new Head Coach.
• Moving over to Wolves will give him the chance to focus 100 per cent on the club and continue to develop a strong leadership team along with Sporting Director Kevin Thelwell and Managing Director Laurie Dalrymple.
“This is 100 per cent of my job now and I am going to be staying here,” Jeff said of the decision to become Chairman and move to Wolverhampton.
“I am now fully committed to spending my time here and that is the best for the long term success of the club.
“I have to be very committed here, and so I am going to live here and be around every day with the team.
“I have to talk with the coach and the players, to see everything, to watch every game, communicate with the fans.
“When you are here you can get a good feeling and make quick decisions if needed.
“When you are in China, you can make phone calls and swap Whats App messages but you do not have that same feeling.
“That feeling is very important to me, to be able to make the best decisions I can in the future.
“For me now it is about us doing better.
“Last season was very tough when we were trying to build a strong squad but to do that we need more time – one, two, three more windows.
“We will want to bring in more players for the season to be more ready to challenge for promotion.”
Jeff is delighted that Wolves managed to attract former Valencia and Porto boss Nuno to Wolves, and is full of confidence in his ability to put together a successful team at Molineux.
“Everyone can see the pedigree of Nuno,” he said.
“He has coached in the Champions League.
“The most important thing is I have had many chances to talk with him about the club and players.
“He is working very hard and is a good guy.
“The more I talk to him the more confident I feel about him.
“I am strongly looking forward to him bringing good things for the club.”
There have already been a fair few ins and outs at Wolves this summer, with defenders Ryan Bennett, Roderick Miranda and Phil Ofosu-Ayeh checking in and Jed Wallace, George Saville, James Henry and Mike Williamson leaving, and loans ended or options not taken up on Richard Stearman, Andi Weimann and Silvio sa Pereira.
Speculation has tended to follow Helder Costa around after a superb debut Wolves season for the double Player of the Year winner, but the message from the Chairman is simple and to the point: “He’s going nowhere!”
“Helder is my boy!” says Jeff.
“I don’t want to see him go.
“Whether my career is successful here with Wolves is bonded very tightly with whether Helder’s career is successful.
“So we want to keep him.
“For this season he cannot go – that is my view.
“He is so important for the squad.
“He has spent one year here and it is important for him to go to the Premier League together with us.
“Of course there is strong interest from other clubs but my job is to keep him and I think he will stay.”
Work is continuing on shaping the squad for the Sky Bet Championship season ahead, with Jeff saying Fosun’s commitment to helping the team reach the Premier League is as strong as ever.
“Last summer we had no time after taking over,” he explained.
“This window we have enough time and we know the priorities that we have.
“We have a very clear plan for what we want to do and for recruitment and we talk to Nuno every day.
“We talk about the positions where we want players and who will come and who will go.
“But for some positions we have to wait for pre-season and the training camp and see how it is with the current squad and whether anyone comes forward to take up a position.
“That is the right way to do it and we have more time before the season.
“The numbers don’t matter very much, the important thing is about the quality and which positions that we need strong players for.
“The one thing we are talking about is promotion and that is what we are building a squad for.
‘The money is not a problem but we just have to think about Financial Fair Play.
“In general it is no problem and we will focus on this season and not think too much about longer term.
“We just want to try and build a very strong squad for this season.
“I think the fans can see that Fosun want to support this club and we have the capability to invest.
“We are not here to save any money – the only thing we are thinking about is going to the Premier League.
“I hope people can see our ambition and be supportive to us.
“The most important thing is to have a full stadium and support the players for every game and have a very good atmosphere.
“It has to be very loud and try to give our home games a very good environment and to inspire the players to play even harder.”
Jeff continued: “Everything is in place now.
“I have a very good relationship with Kevin and Laurie and they are doing a very good job.
“Now we have a strong team with a very good Head Coach as well.
“It is an international team as well – Chinese owners, Portuguese coach, English team.
“I am the guy to lead the team and to make it gel together and to have a strong team as we move forward.”