Exclusive - Wolves have informed new head coach Bruno Lage, who has replaced fellow countryman Nuno Espirito Santo at Molineux, that some of the bigger names at the club will be sold this summer in order fund reinvestment in the squad – including Ruben Neves and Adama Traore.
Wolves finished a disappointing 13th in the Premier League in 2020/21 following consecutive seasons in seventh place. Nuno has left and the squad is in need of fresh blood if they are to get back into an increasingly competitive top half of the table.
But the club’s financial records show that Wolves made pre-tax losses between £20m and £55m in three out of four seasons between 2016 and 2020. With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic still felt, that is likely to become four out of five by the time the 2020/21 accounts are finalised.
90min has already revealed that Chinese owners Fosun are restructuring their commitment and involvement with the club and it will take player sales to recoup some finances in order to now make a suitable spending budget available to the recruitment department.
Two of the more prominent Wolves players who could attract buyers are Traore and Neves.
Having joined from Middlesbrough in 2018, 25-year-old Traore feels that now is the right time to leave Molineux. He made that known to the club in January when he put contract talks on hold, despite previously reaching an agreement in principle over a new deal.
Leeds and Liverpool were both interested in the Spain international then and Marcelo Bielsa's side in particular remain very keen now. Liverpool are also still in the mix, having signed Diogo Jota from Wolves last summer. Chelsea and Manchester United asked to be kept informed of any developments, although the latter is making substantial progress in talks to sign primary target Jadon Sancho.
90min was first to reveal in early April that Wolves will not stand in the way of 24-year-old Neves leaving this summer if an offer matches their valuation in excess of £30m.
Arsenal have since held talks over the Portugal international, although the Gunners are also working on other options to boost their midfield, including Brighton star Yves Bissouma.
Manchester United are still very keen on Neves. Central midfield has become an increasingly important position for the club to address this summer and 90min has been told that Bruno Fernandes has already given a glowing reference of his international colleague.
Declan Rice would be United’s ideal target in that position, but West Ham have given little in the way of encouragement that they are open to selling him, while Neves could potentially cost just half the price and that is also a consideration for the Old Trafford club.