The Wolverhampton Revolution is not all about the money
A certain Rudyard Kipling once proclaimed, "the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack" and few words bear more accuracy when referring to the revolution taking place at Wolverhampton Wanderers at present.
It's remarkable what a difference a fresh pair of eyes and some new ideas can make. Nuno Espírito Santo has revolutionised Championship outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers in such a short space of time and, of course, numerous supporters of other English clubs have been quick to suggest this recent success is all down to money
There has been a lot of coverage with regards to how much the club has spent and the normal rhetoric of “you're buying the league” has been expressed far too frequently. Have Wolves spent the most money in the league? No. Are they anywhere close to such a figure? No. According to 'Transfermarkt', the Black Country outfit only spent the equivalent of just over €22 million this summer, whilst relegated Middlesbrough eclipsed that figure by more than double, having spent in excess of €55 million. Why then are Wolves getting pelters from the press seemingly more than any other club?
Two reasons in particular stand out; the link with one of the most infamous super agents in the world and the 'Chinese millions' being pumped into the club. Jorge Mendes, arguably the most powerful man in football, is agent to multiple big name players and managers and has an extensive network that spans the globe. His first ever client? Wolverhampton Wanderers's very own Nuno. This man is Cristiano Ronaldo's agent, why would you not want him around your football club? It is an aggravating misconception that Mendes is the driving force behind the Wolves revival, with such a sentiment being attached to the club's recent success far too often; it's becoming laughable.
Mino Raiola plays a massive part at Man United in terms of the players that are bought in, but that doesn't get nearly as much attention, most likely due to the reputation of the Red Devils as one of the greatest clubs in the country, even in Europe. Wolves are a second tier side and do not boast such a stellar reputation, so why should someone like Jorge Mendes be helping them? That's the real issue here. It is believed that there is a hidden agenda from Mendes but there really isn't; he wants the best deals for his clients and if he didn't, he would be a pretty shoddy agent.
Then there's the even more widespread belief that it's all about the money, namely the investment from China. Fosun International bought Wolverhampton Wanderers with the sole purpose of getting the club to the Premier League and rendering them a force to be reckoned with in England and the world. The market for football is growing by the second in China. It is regularly suggested that they panicked last season with the hiring and firing of Zenga and Lambert. Again, simply not true. Zenga was only ever really a stop-gap after the club missed out on Julen Lopetegui, who took the Spanish job, and when the wheels of the Zenga Bus were coming off, they brought Lambert in to steady the ship and to make sure that the club would nodrop down to the third tier.
Nuno would have likely been sounded-out towards the back end of last season, hence why he left Porto and turned down multiple offers from Champions League clubs to join the 'Wolves Project'.
Setting up with an unrecognisable 3-4-3 set-up, Wolves beat the favourites for the title, the aforementioned Middlesbrough, on the opening day. From that point, with the exception of a few expected hiccups, the side haven't looked back. The recent encounter between Wolves and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup epitomised the extent of this evolution.
A heavy beating was anticipated, but Nuno's genius had once again been underestimated. Wolves soaked up pressure in the opening period and even had a promising opportunity to edge in front and the game went into the break goalless. It was from here that Nuno continued his sorcery. The players were encourage to play and Wolves grew into the game.
Having squandered a couple of half chances, the game ended goalless and extra-time and, later, penalties would be required to separate the two teams. Wolves would, unfortunately, be dispatched by the Premier League leaders but they had done themselves proud.
It was a fantastic performance from the second-tier side and a lot of it was down to the meticulous planning of Nuno. This had nothing to do with Mendes or the Chinese investment. There is now a renewed sense of optimism around Wolverhampton Wanderers and there is a sense that a revolution is only just beginning.