Wolverhampton Wanderers were relegated from the Premier League in 2012 and a year later they went down to League One in 2013, only to return to the Championship in 2014.
Their fortune changed after Chinese company Fosun International became owners in 2016 and a year later, their current manager Nuno Espírito Santo arrived at the club.
Under the former Porto manager’s guidance, Wolves achieved promotion to the Premier League and qualified for this season’s Europa League after finishing seventh last campaign.
Speaking to Marca, Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell hailed Nuno Espírito Santo’s work at Molineux.
“I’ve said it many times. Nuno has been our best signing. He has improved us and has given us a very clear football identity and philosophy. You just have to see how we play, with or without the ball, to see how far we have come. His great work has taken us to another level.” Thelwell said.
Wolves have made several quality additions to their squad over the past few years and on Wolves’ transfer plans, Thelwell stressed: “We had the ability to recruit Premier League level players when we were in the Championship and that made us very strong.
“They understood that our goals were very ambitious, with an eye on the Premier League and they are happy to improve with the team. We created a clear identity that helped us to climb and, now, to compete with the best.
“Raúl [Jiménez] is the type of player we are looking for: young, developing players, hungry to improve, grow and compete for everything.”
Wolves have a lot of Portuguese influence at the club and, in addition to their manager, they have eight players from the country.
“There are not so many, only some of the best [smiles]. We detect quality players in Portugal and Nuno knows them very well,” Thelwell added.
Most of these Portuguese players are managed by Jorge Mendes and the super-agent’s close relationship with the English club has been credited as part of Wolves’ impressive transfer business. Thelwell gave an insight on Mendes’ influence on the club.
“People think he has free hand to do what he wants in this team and it is not like that. There is an informal cooperation between Fosun and Gestifute, Mendes’ agency. They are going to consult him and ask him for advice, he is one of the biggest names in football,” the Wolves chief stressed.
Wolves are currently fifth in the table and Thelwell emphasised finishing in top six is their goal.
“We must go step by step. We are already in the Premier League and Europa League. Being together makes a difference. It is the strength of the pack of the ‘Wolves’,” Thelwell concluded.