5 things we’ve learned from Wolves’ promotion

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Money talks

As we saw early on, Fosun’s partnership with super agent Jorge Mendes eventually paid dividends. Their partnership has allowed Wolves to haul in ultimately Premier League-quality players, with Champions League experience. Ruben Neves arrived for a Championship record £16.1m from Porto, and holds the record for being the youngest Champions League captain. Diogo Jota also has elite European experience from his loan spell with the Portuguese giants, and has plied his trade at Spanish titans Atletico Madrid. Leo Bonatini has scored some crucial goals in Wolves’ march to promotion, while Willy Boly has sured up the defence alongside Ryan Bennett and Conor Coady.

Squad depth is vital

Had Nuno Espirito Santo not had such a selection of quality to cherry pick from, the Molineux club would not have found the Championship ride as comfortable as it has seemed at times this term. Names like Helder Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro, key figures in their escape from relegation last season, have taken more of a back seat this campaign, allowing for Bonatini, Jota and co. to shine in the attacking third. Such a variety of playing styles mixed in with the endless mountains of quality has sealed an easy promotion, and many lower-tiered Premier League sides are circling more rotational names like Rafa Mir, Danny Batth, Cavaleiro and Costa with serious interest.

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Playing out from the back works in the Championship

Nuno came into Wolves with a big reputation back in Spain and Portugal, but eyebrows were raised when he was unveiled at Molineux at the start of the summer. However, he has brought his passing ways into the Championship, and completely revolutionised the way clubs can get promoted. Despite having the stars to play his way, it has always been seen before that you have to play direct football to go up, as shown by Huddersfield’s shock rising into the top flight, but Nuno disbanded and disproved that thesis with a back three of Boly, Bennett and Coady, all comfortable ball-players that were good defensively as well. The short, passing play that Nuno has inscribed into Wolves, mirrored on Premier League champions Manchester City, has allowed the champions-elect to play with fluidity and offensive freedom, liberating Ruben Neves’ creartivity and visiual attributes to pick out the lethal Jota and Bonatini to net the goals that have ultimately sent Wolves up.

The owner actually cares about the club

After a disappointing first season at the helm of the club, many Wolves fans wouldn’t have blamed recently-appointed chairman Jeff Shi to sell off Fosun’s shares in the team. However, Shi has lead from the front with confidence and panache, regularly writing notes in the club’s matchday programme, and consistently reaching out and listening to supporters when things aren’t going the way they had hoped. Shi is an intelligent businessman who has dealt well with the pressures that have come from the FA about the suspicious affiliation between the club and Mendes, and his poise under pressure has been key to the on-field success for Wolves as well off it.

You need a 20-goal-a-season frontman

Obviously, goals are the crucial thing when pushing for promotion, and Wolves have scored plenty of them. However, when confidence is low, you need a man who will step up to the plate and net a morale-boosting winner. Diogo Jota has been that man for the Wanderers, and is likely to hit 20 goals by the end of the campaign to cap a scintillating maiden season in England for the on-loan Portuguese forward. Of course, Bonatini and Afobe have backed up Jota’s net findings, but the Madrid man has been the key to the Championship’s trophy room, and it won’t be long before we see the shiny silverware glistening in the Midlands sunlight soon.