The £125m from player sales Wolves could make to boost summer transfer war chest
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There is some uncertainty clouding Wolves’ plans for the summer transfer window as Julen Lopetegui seeks assurances over the financial backing he will receive over the coming months.
The former Sevilla and Porto manager made an impressive impact after he was named as successor to Bruno Lage last season but will hope to put his own print on the Wolves squad ahead of his first full season in charge at Molineux. There have been some suggestions stating Lopetegui’s budget could be boosted by the sale of some existing members of his squad. So with the window rapidly approaching, 3AddedMinutes looks at some candidates that could be finding pastures new this season - with valuations provided by TransferMarkt.
Ruben Neves - £35m
This one feels like the easiest hit for Wolves to take with the Portugal international heading into the final year of the current deal and attracting attention from a number of big-name clubs from around Europe. Neves is without question a key player and has more than proven his worth during his six-year stay at Molineux.
But with the midfielder’s value now at a point where it will only decrease as the final months of his current contract approach and there being little expectation of an extension being agreed, it could make sense for Wolves to part ways with the 26-year-old and bringing in money that would allow Julen Lopetegui to put his own stamp on the squad he inherited from Bruno Lage last November. There would be some pain for the Molineux faithful - but the longer-term benefits could be beneficial for all parties involved.
Max Kilman - £22m
Kilman has been a trusted outlet for Lopetegui and his successors Bruno Lage and Nuno Espirito Santo and has been a shrewd addition for Wolves after joining them from non-league club Maidenhead United in August 2018.
He has gone on to make over a century of appearances in the time that has passed and there were even suggestions he could be in line for an international call-up with England or Ukraine. Kilman still has three years remaining on his current deal and Wolves also have the benefit of an option to extend that by a further year - but they could also take advantage of the fact Kilman could bring in a decent fee after he was linked with a number of Premier League clubs over the last 12 months.
The likes of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have been suggested as possible suitors - although neither club has followed that up with a serious bid or even an enquiry. However, there would surely be interest in Kilman if Wolves were to indicate they would allow him to depart during the summer transfer window.
Rayan Ait-Nouri - £19m
Another shrewd addition, the £9.5m handed over to French club Angers in July 2021 looks something of a snip after Ait-Nouri produced some eye-catching displays during his time at Molineux.
Four goals and eight assists in 78 appearances is a promising return from the attack-minded full-back and his form during his time with the club earned him a maiden international call-up as he made his Algeria debut in an African Cup of Nations qualifiers in March. That came on the back of representing France at several ages groups at youth level as the youngster forged a fine reputation for himself with Angers.
However, his form has also attracted attention from clubs in the Premier League and abroad and it would be no surprise to see the interest in Ait-Nouri translate into firm bids during the summer. If he were to leave Molineux, it seems likely it would be for a higher fee than the £19m valuation placed upon him by TransferMarkt.
Hee-chan Hwang - £10m
It’s hard to know what to make of Hwang’s time at Wolves. There have been some promising moments and some that have led supporters to believe there is more to come from the South Korean international. However, a return of just four goals and three assists in 32 appearances in all competitions means Wolves are not getting value for money on the £14m they paid for the forward last summer after he spent the previous season on loan at Molineux.
There has been interest in the 27-year-old in recent months, with the likes of Everton, Roma and Leeds United all named as possible suitors in the media - although the relegation of the latter of that trio would almost certainly rule them out of contention to sign Hwang should Wolves allow him to leave the club during the close season.
Matheus Nunes - £39m
It would be safe to suggest Nunes is Wolves most valuable asset after an impressive first season in the Premier League.
At £40m, the 11-times capped Portugal international is the club’s record signing and he has proven his worth with a whole host of impressive performances in the heart of their midfield. His contract situation also works in favour of the club, with the deal he signed last summer running until June 2027 and Wolves can also extend that by a further year.
That means any club wishing to make a firm move for the 24-year-old could find Wolves asking for a sizable fee and once that would surpass the £39m valuation placed upon him by TransferMarkt. Chelsea and Liverpool have reportedly considered a move for Nunes as they look to move on from underwhelming seasons and improve their options in the middle of the pitch. Just like Neves, losing Nunes would be a difficult one to take for Wolves supporters - but he would significantly increase Lopetegui’s transfer budget should he move away from the club.