Confidence was high at the Molineux heading in to 2020. Despite a wobbly start to the season, the club fought back under Pellegri's stewardship and were looking to stamp their mark on their new year with some moves in the transfer market. Bruno Alves was expected to leave the club, with defensive reinforcements at the top of Wolves' priorities in the market.
There were two players loaned out (Shabani and Mayounga). More importantly, two were sold. Ofosu-Ayeh wasn't deemed good enough so money was taken for him. As for Bruno Alves..... he was on £80k p/w at the club. It was an easy decision to make.
There were just two signings, but they were high profile signings. Daniele Rugani arrived at the club for £14.75M from Juventus. The Italian senior international was expected to become a key part of the side alongside fellow new signing Kalvin Phillips. Phillips was signed from Leeds United for £27.5M (potentially rising to £32.5M). Phillips was expected to compete for a starting spot in midfield, offering defensive solidity and good linkup play.
A move for James Rodríguez failed to materialise. Real Madrid had listed the Colombian midfielder, who is set to leave the club following the expiration of his contract in the summer. Wolves were interested in securing the world renowned football star but Jorge Mendes' client refused to move club before the summer. Chelsea's Ross Barkley, Roma's Javier Pastore and Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all lined up by Wolves for a potential January move, having all been transfer listed, but Wolves were not prepared to make a significant bid following the signings of Rugani and Phillips.
The year started very positively for the club on the pitch as they hosted Bournemouth in the Premier League on New Years Day. Goals from fan favourite Diogo Jota and club captain Conor Coady secured all three points in a 2-0 win. However, this form couldn't be carried into an FA Cup third round clash away to Middlesbrough. A 3-1 lead was squandered late on as the Championship club earned a shock replay.
Wolves came back with a vengeance as they ventured to Anfield to face league leaders Liverpool. Pellegri's outfit were proving to be relative giant killers as Neves and Moutinho both scored in a 2-0 win. Wolves then secured FA Cup progression with a 3-1 win in their replay against Middlesbrough before a last minute Jonny goal earned a 1-1 draw away to Southampton in the league.
The end of the month was wrapped up in style. Pep Guardiola's Manchester City visited the Molineux looking for revenge, following December's defeat to Pellegri, but Wolves held onto a 1-0 scoreline to do the double over the reigning champions. A fourth round trip to Lincoln City in the FA Cup proved to be a walk in the park, with Wolves scoring seven times to secure progressino. All-in-all, a great month for the midlands club.
Wolves were up to 10th place in the league after 24 games. Pellegri's 12 games in charge certainly improved on Nuno's 12 this season, with wins against Manchester City (twice) and Liverpool proving to be particular highlights. With fourteen games to go in the Premier League season, there was plenty of optimism among the camp. However, qualification for Europe looked out of the question. Wolves were 14 points behind 7th place Everton, with form under Nuno certainly damning.
Lifer under Pellegri gave plenty to celebrate (yes women, that's right) and the manager was rewarded for his work with a Manager of the Month award for January. That means the banner at the top of the graphics will require updating as he gets recognised for his work. I don't know why he's blonde in the screenshot. I assume it's for some lady-chasing prank - who knows?!?
February is set to be an exciting month for the club. In the Premier League, Wolves will travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea before hosting Burnley and West Ham United. The club will also recontinue their UEFA Europa League campaign with a Last 32 tie against Sevilla. Wolves will host the Spanish side in the first leg before travelling to Spain for the second.
, I believe even the character of Phillips will be a big boost to the squad. He has a lot to do to prove value for money but he's more than good enough to do so.
, a story you blew your whistle over, I see.
, he hopefully shall!