Whether it’s a stunning central midfielder from Lille or a bewitching beauty from Bridgnorth, it’s the hope that will eventually kill you.
Much like online dating, transfer deadline day has a knack of kicking you in the knackers at the very moment you contemplate stroking them.
Both promise big and even whisper the words you want to hear, but the net result is usually the same, involving a pre-occupation with a mobile phone notification that never comes.
Renato Sanches looked a bit too good to be true from the images, rather like those ‘top picks’ on a notorious dating site that you know are out of your league before you swipe right, but you do so out of futile hope anyway. (One out of 200 might settle for a ‘nice bloke’, you never know).
Renato’s dodgy knee might have made Wolverhampton more appealing, as better looking suitors would see it as baggage, a bit like the ‘sapiosexual’ description on a pout-laden profile which I’m usually prepared to look past.
A conversation or two must have followed: ‘What’s a yoga-loving Portuguese like you doing on here on transfer deadline day?’ ‘Wolverhampton isn’t too far from France, you know? I’m not a massive fan of South Wales either. Or advertisement boards. Sunday lunch in a country pub with open fire Renato?! It would be my pleasure.’
And at that very moment, like a fair few other prospects over the past few weeks and months, they vanish in a puff of smoke and up the flue of a wood burner you were snuggled in front of together, in a quaint little village that remains out of reach in your mind’s eye.
Just over three years ago, Wolves Blog was told by ex-sporting director Kevin Thelwell that we’d be emulating Tottenham Hotspur, with ambitions to gatecrash the top four (a reference we were asked to dampen down for fear of raising too many eyebrows too soon).
When speaking to Thomas and I, Thelwell said: ‘Fosun are very ambitious. Uber ambitious. This club is in a very different space. I think Fosun want to see the club become a very strong Premier League team.
‘They are not in it for generating money off some transfers. It is all about being a successful Premier League team and winning things – over time.’
Maybe it’s just ongoing FFP constraints, but achieving a profit of £6.2m (in: £21.3m / out: £27.5m) this summer and persisting with just three recognised central midfielders – one of them 35 years old and past his majestic vintage – smacks of a lack of ambition at best. At worst, it’s a refusal to give your new manager the tools to do a job that he looks more than capable of carrying out.
And still lurking at the back of my mind is the sale of Diogo Jota, who is now Fosun case law in selling one of your best young players for profit, no matter the rationale attached to that particular sale. As a result, we’re supposed to count our blessings that Neves and Traore haven’t gone the same way as well?
Thelwell added: ‘Their vision is to be a top Premier League team so we have to produce. We need to make sure we’re not only capable of playing in Premier League but of achieving something in the Premier League.’
Maybe finishing seventh twice and a European adventure is what he was on about, but as I take my seat at Molineux this season, I still see the mound of wasteland behind the videowall between the Steve Bull and South Bank, when at the bare minimum we were promised another temporary stand by now.
In February 2019, Jeff Shi himself said: “The most important thing is to have enough capacity. 40,000-50,000 is not a problem by my understanding. Wolves is like a sleeping giant.”
But a call for fresh investment six months on and a geopolitical standoff between China and the west means that I can’t help but worry.
After so many rejections during the transfer window, you’d have thought that I’d have toughened up by now.
In the absence of a reply, I’ll sit tight and hope for the best. Remember, they’ll have a million other things on and they’ve already said that they like us, so chill. We can see that they’ve read our messages too, so have faith!
“I think Wolves now is in the group where we will keep it forever,” said Jeff in September 2019.
So try not to overthink things and live in the moment, folks. Something good will happen when you’re least expecting it, you know?
It’s just that when the silence becomes deafening like this, I have a pretty good idea what’s coming next.