As we enter 2016, David Evans explains why the Wolves squad we have come to know may look different by the end of the year.
We enter another new year as Wolves look to make a push to gain an unlikely playoff spot.
When all the dust settles this season, the summer could prove vital for the clubs progression and identify in the coming years
With the club’s future still uncertain with a future owner, Wolves may need to sell greatly before they can buy. The overall ownership cenario may greatly shape how the squad looks and progresses over the course of the year.
Jackett could be about to embark on another big transition for Wolves since he first started.
If Solbakken & Saunders time was David Tennant’s grungy Tardis interior, Jackett’s revolution was Matt Smiths’ colourful, vibrant and youthful fairytale decor.
As Jackett may venture into a fourth season, we could see him try to turn Wolves into the bright yet sharp and serious Tardis we saw Smith change before passing the torch over to Peter Capaldi.
What that Doctor Who comparison is trying to show is that Jackett (if in charge) may be in a position where he will need to evolve the current Wolves squad yet again.
Why will he? Let me break it down for you… Cuz.
At the moment, Carl Ikeme is the main man and despite injury, Martinez will likely re-join Arsenal in the summer.
That leaves current no.2 Aaron McCarey. With a lack of game time in the first team since League One, you can’t help but feel that if Jackett does want to push Wolves forward then McCarey’s contract, which expires this summer, will be allowed to run out.
Goalkeepers Left: 1
Let’s talk contracts firstly.
Deslandes will likely stay given Wolves eagreness to promote from within.
We then have Scott Golbourne. The former Fancast Player of the Season has been in and out of the side of late due to injuries and form.
With no contract as yet signed, it could be the end of the hi-top man’s time at Molineux this summer.
Doherty’s recent new contract will keep him at the club for a while longer and captain Danny Batth will continue his training on the path of becoming a local legend.
With a deal for Newcastle’s Williamson likely to happen, it will throw up an interesting question mark on the future of Ethan Ebanks Landell’s.
Depending on the length of Williamson’s contract, it will determine whether Wolves trust the young defender to be a future part of the club.
Loan time may still be beneficial but don’t rule out Jackett making another tough call on the man of the match winner against Brighton.
Hause and Iorfa were breakthrough stars last season. Despite injury, Hause continues to attract rumoured interest from the Premier League. Iorfa’s recent training session with the senior England squad will also keep eyes on him.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if one of these were snapped up by a newly promoted Premier League side.
Wolves have lacked strength in depth at the back all season. New acquisitions required.
Defenders left: 4
Let’s start with contracts again.
The golden boy Jordan Graham will surely earn a new deal after his recent impact.
Boukari’s ongoing unfortunate injury list will see him end his Wolves curse and exit Molineux this summer.
Despite having a good pre-season it seems likely Tommy Rowe will leave after making little impact on the first team. A good loan spell at Scunthorpe United may signal his new destination.
The former chosen one, Zele Ismail, is a puzzle. Into last few months of his contract, Wolves will once again decide whether its time to give the winger one last chance at the big time.
After joining Burton on loan, his time was cut short once again by injury. If Wolves decide to take up the option on his deal, it could surely be his last, last chance at Molineux.
With Graham aside, Kenny has Byrne, Henry, VLP & Zyro at his disposal on the wings.
Zyro is yet to be seen but is likely a future replacement for VLP who’s loan at Brighton and comments about the apparent lack of communications from the club may show that he is likely to move on.
Byrne will stay and be given time to shine. Henry though is interesting.
His consistent performances will likely put him in contention for this seasons player of the season award but will he make the grade next time round?
As mentioned, Jackett’s not afraid to make the big call and remove even the best performing player for the good of the side.
Despite a new deal, could Henry be ‘that’ player this summer? It’s not like Jackett’s done it before with a certain defender.
The dream team of McDonald and Price will surely have sparked interest from above. Especially given the impressive stats Price has built up over the recent months.
Could the duo be broken up?
Coady has recently shown that he may be the ideal replacement to step into Price’s shoes.
Saville’s transfer from Chelsea has also proved unfruitful and Lee Evans doesn’t look like he fits into this squad anymore. It’s fairly easy to say that on loan Liverpool Winger Ojo won’t be joining Wolves for a second spell next season.
We move onto the ‘no.10’ role. Will Wallace become the successor to Edwards? Early signs are unclear given Wallace’s lack of time on the field.
Edwards has been one of the most improved players under Jackett. Even with an expected seat on the plane to Euro 2016, will Jackett decide it’s time to move Dangerous Dave on to give a younger player a chance to make the role their own?
Wolves have shown that they crave experience, but eventually the current crop will need to step up to the plate and show what they have learned.
Kenny likes to bulk buy his midfielders but this season could the time when most of them regenerate.
Midfielders left: 6 or 7
This is where the fun begins.
Benik Afobe. To sell or not to sell, that is the question?
Wolves could have sold Benik for a large sum last summer but rightly chose to keep him on the books.
As Afobe’s prolific form and contract dwindles, so does his price tag. If Moxey needs to sell to provide funds for Jackett, he will be playing a constant game of Risk.
January will be the start of perhaps months of speculation and Derby may have kicked things off.
Le Fondre’s loan signing was celebrated by many fans but he is another one who has failed to make an impact and will likely return to Cardiff city in May.
Despite the impressive return of Bjorn Sigurdarson, it pains for me to say that realistically his deal will likely run out at the end of the season unless he provides a landslide of goals.
Bright will continue his development but perhaps take a back seat to the Under 21’s next season.
That leaves the striker who will once again look to steer Wolves up the table from the front-line, Nouha Dicko.
The Mali man’s intensity and pace has been greatly missed. He may once again become the figure head of Wolves forward line come August.
Wolves could have a whole new attacking line up by the end of the year. The first time since Jackett’s overhaul in late 2013/early 2014.
Strikers left: 1
All of this is speculation of course and written at the start of the January transfer window.
Wolves are usually quiet in January so a mass bulk of purchases is unlikely, despite the teams need for quality reinforcements.
‘Cue Wolves making a flurry of signings.’
Does this all even seem logical? Why listen to me? I’m just a mad man in a box. (Wait a second, that’s Doctor Who again).
We’ve been used to this new blend of Wolves over the last three years but looking at it right now, you may need to get ready to welcome a whole new cast for Series 4 of The Jackett Revival.
Will Wolves look completely different in 2016? Comment below and share your thoughts?