If it’s a statement you wanted, Wolves did not disappoint.
With social media awash with theories about filling a Matt Doherty shaped void, the club announces a sensational swoop for one of Europe’s most promising young strikers.
It’s a club record move not a single media outlet got wind of prior to Saturday afternoon. Quite remarkable.
I can’t comment on Fabio Silva’s capabilities because I’ve never heard of him.
But then again, I’d never heard of Raul Jimenez either. I couldn’t have picked Diogo Jota out of a lineup and the same applies to Ruben Neves, Willy Boly and several others.
Apologies to you Football Manager aficionados and boffins of the European game.
Yet it’s my total ignorance (coupled with articles like this) that makes our £35 million capture all the more exciting.
Fosun’s track record in the market – with the obvious exception of the panic buys from that first season – is largely unblemished. Recruits have either made the grade or been shuffled along.
Wolves know what they want and what they expect, so when they do make a move, you can feel confident it’s with a high degree of calculation.
Where once ‘big fees for foreign players I’ve never heard of’ used to inspire dread, it’s now my preferred criteria for any new recruit.
It suggests we’re stealing a march on the competition, seeing value where others don’t and challenging pre-conceived ideas about how to build an elite club team.
£35.6 million for a player whose hardly played senior football might look like an all-in move, but it probably isn’t.
They’ll believe he can make a major impact, but if he doesn’t, they’ll have an exit strategy in the pipeline – another handy benefit of being in bed with the world’s most famous super agent.
This is how Wolves do business.
When we met with Kevin Thelwell two years ago, he underlined the fact that the club’s willingness to pay the going rate for players other English clubs wouldn’t was a major part of their success.
Fulham had enquired about Willy Boly for instance, but thought the fee was too high. Likewise Jota and Neves were both openly available to anyone who’d pay the fees, but again, only Wolves were prepared to take a chance on young, unproven talent.
We no longer feast on the corpses of relegated sides or ask the ‘big six’ to borrow one of their young bucks for a few months. It’s a sign of the times and a sign of intent. Long may it continue.
And just to keep you guessing, the arrival of Marcal could not be more different – a nominal fee for a proven Champions League performer.
It’s interesting, it’s different to what most other clubs in the league are doing in the market and reminds us that Wolves, in every sense, are making moves.