With the season drawing to a close, we are taking the opportunity to look back and reflect on the top signings of the season in the Championship. Wolverhampton Wanderers took the league by storm to be crowned champions and claim automatic promotion, with a number of summer signings sparking their tremendous season.
The following five players are those who we believe to be the best signings of 2017/2018…
Ruben Neves joined Wolves last summer for a club and league record fee. The Portuguese ace has embodied his side’s rise to dominance and, at 21, will be relishing the chance of kick-starting his Premier League career, having achieved promotion in his first campaign in English football.
The former Porto star has played 38 times for Wolves this season, scoring six goals along the way, and was nominated for both the player of the season and young player of the season in the Championship. His quality cannot be understated and you could argue that he has been the signing of the season for any professional club in the country.
Another Wolves star, John Ruddy signed for the Midlands club as a free agent after being released by Norwich City following the end of his contract. The English goalie has been solid between the sticks for Wolves and will be delighted at the prospect of a return to the Premier League next season, having been relegated with Norwich in 2016.
Capped once by England, Ruddy was named in both the Football League Championship team of the season and the PFA Championship team of the season for 2017/2018. Not bad at all for a free signing.
Scotland international Robert Snodgrass was deemed surplus to requirements at West Ham United last summer after failing to meet the demands expected of him during the 2016/2017 campaign. Whisked away on loan to Aston Villa at the beginning of the season, Snodgrass has found his place in a new claret and blue team, growing to be one of the club’s standout performers.
Villa are still in the hunt for promotion in the play-off positions, and their rise has been significantly aided by the form of their loaned Scotsman. The winger has not only scored seven goals, but has contributed an astounding 14 assists for the Villans, in his 37 appearances so far for the club.
Steve Bruce will be desperate to hold on to Snodgrass for next season, however, his stunning form will have probably fired himself into David Moyes’ plans for West Ham.
Another loaned out Premier League star, Aleksandar Mitrovic joined Fulham from Newcastle United in January, after suffering from a lack of playing time under Rafa Benitez. The 23-year-old has netted an impressive 11 goals in 15 Championship appearances for the London club, which is nearly the same number of league goals he has scored for Newcastle in his two and a half seasons at St James’s Park.
Like Snodgrass, the Serbian’s form may have reignited the chance of a career with his parent club, however, the Magpies will have a big task on their hand warding off interest from Fulham, who will no doubt be hoping to retain his services, especially if they gain promotion.
When Callum Paterson joined Cardiff City last summer, the club knew they were signing a versatile player. Having played mainly as a right-back for the Edinburgh club, Paterson was also occasionally deployed as a striker for Hearts, which is testament to his versatility, but nobody would have predicted that he was set to become a goal-scoring central midfielder for Cardiff.
The Scotland international has netted an impressive 10 goals from midfield for the promotion hopefuls and is one of the most valued members of Neil Warnock’s squad. His development this season has been tremendous and Cardiff will be pleased to have such a promising young talent on their books.
Adama Traore records most successful dribbles in just 45 minutes on Wolves Debut
The youngster looked electric in his second half cameo this weekend.
It was a first Wolves appearance for £18 million club record signing Adam Traore this weekend, with the 22-year-old instantly living up to his exciting reputation.
The Midlands outfit would perhaps consider themselves unfortunate as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of 10-man Leicester City, but a debut performance for Traore was a highlight in an otherwise disappointing afternoon.
Against Leicester he displayed his ability to beat his man with ease, drifting in and out of opposing defenders as he ran down the right flank.
Only featuring in the second half against the Foxes, Traore completed seven dribbles in total while he completed a match-best two key passes.
In just 45 minutes, he completed more dribbles than any other player in an English top flight game so far this season, while he also tops the rankings across Europe.
It is fair to say the former Middlesbrough man would be one of the most dangerous players in the Premier League if he were able to improve on his decision making in the final third.
Despite Wolves’ slow start to the Premier League season, one thing that is guaranteed is the excitement the powerful winger will provide this season.
Andre Silva shows Wolves what they are missing with hat-trick on Sevilla debut
Wolves were linked with a move for the AC Milan striker this summer.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have struggled so far in their Premier League adventure. A 2-2 draw with Everton on the opening day came despite the Toffees being down to 10-men. However, they were put away by Leicester City this weekend in comfortable fashion.
One thing it seems Wolves may be missing is a clinical striker.
Leo Bonatini and Raul Jimenez might not be able to provide the goals Wolves need to repeat their Championship success in the top-flight.
This summer, Wolves were linked with plenty of players, owing to their links with ‘super agent’ Jorge Mendes.
One such player was Portugal striker Andre Silva.
After Gonzalo Higuain left Juventus for AC Milan, the Portuguese international was free to leave the San Siro.
The 22-year-old is represented by Mendes’ Gestifute company, which would have made facilitating a deal much easier. According to a report from TMW, Wolves were in the driving seat leading up to deadline day.
However, no deal was agreed and Silva ended up heading to Spain instead. He joined Sevilla on a season-long loan deal with a €35 million (£31.4 million) buying option.
Silva has certainly shown Wolves what they might be missing on his La Liga debut. Sevilla swept aside Rayo Vallecano 4-1 in their opening game of the season, with Silva scoring an impressive hat-trick.
Wolves are clearly trying to keep a decent balance on the books despite their promotion to the top-flight. However, they might have wanted to push harder for a Silva deal, as he starts his Spanish adventure with a bang.
Paul Gladon may need to change his thinking to seal Wolves exit
The Dutch striker has no chance of regular football at Molineux this season.
In the summer of 2016 Wolverhampton Wanderers snapped up Dutch striker Paul Gladon from Heracles Almelo. The striker had a good scoring record in the past with the likes of Sparta Rotterdam and FC Dordrecht.
However, the £1 million signing has struggled in England.
Gladon featured just three times in his debut season and was cast aside by Paul Lambert after his arrival in November 2016.
Then the Fosun era got into full flow and with the influx of new players Gladon found himself out of favour. He was loaned back to Heracles last season where he made minimal impact.
“He’s just not part of it. I’ve got so many players here. Paul has maybe found it hard himself. I think it’s maybe thrown him as well, how hard it is. I’ve just got to go with ones I think can do it, week in week out.”
The signing of Gladon seemed puzzling at the time and now, with Wolves in the Premier League, his chances of playing for Wolves again appear incredibly slim.
Gladon, like Joe Mason, Dominic Iorfa and Michal Zyro to name a few, has become one of Wolves’ outcasts and he needs to be shifted before the end of the month. Roda JC and FC Twente came knocking in July but, as reported by Tribal Football, he does not wish to play in the Dutch second-tier.
With time running out to find a new club he may want to revisit that stance or spend a season in the reserves.
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