Jonny Otto believes Wolves have signed world class players and says they are aiming to challenge for a top-six place next season.
The Spain international signed permanently for a then club-record equalling £18m fee in January after arriving on a season-long loan last summer from Atletico Madrid.
Jonny says he was persuaded to join Wolves because of the club’s ambition, after leaving Atletico without playing a single game for them following his £18m permanent move from Celta Vigo in January. As initially a loan capture last summer, he was one of several big signings along with established internationals Raul Jimenez (£32m on July 1), Joao Moutinho (£5m), Rui Patricio (£15m), plus then £18m club record buy Adama Traore and the loan-to-permanent moves of Willy Boly, Diogo Jota and Ruben Vinagre. The signs are that Wolves will invest to strengthen their squad again this summer.
“Wolves were a newly-promoted team, but I saw there was a lot of progression, and above all they were signing world-class players,” the 25-year-old wing back told Sky Sports. “There was a lot of ambition and that convinced me to come here.
“I hope to fight with the top six for those places soon. I am very happy. It has been a great year both on a collective and individual level.
“We are seventh, so you can say we are first among the mortals – after the big six. It’s a shame we couldn’t reach the FA Cup final, but the team is growing and getting great results.
“I’m sure if it wasn’t for our results against teams below us in the table this season, we would already be there because against the big teams directly, we have done very well.
“Maybe that is where we need to improve the most, in games against the smaller teams.”
For Jonny, having played the vast majority of his 218 games for Celta Vigo in La Liga, he admits the transition to the Premier League has been ‘brutal’. But although he admits the English top flight is more demanding mentally and physically, he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“The change from La Liga is brutal, but I always said I wanted to try it and I’m glad I have,” he added. “For me, right now, the Premier League is the best league in the world.
“With the GPS systems in football now, the players cover more or less the same amount of ground and register the same speeds in both countries, but I think the games here are more demanding.
“The play is a lot more vertical in the Premier League, so you have to pay more attention throughout the game.
“It’s more difficult to find a moment to relax because you are always attacking or defending.
“That verticality, that directness, is the biggest difference with Spain I think. You have to be at 100 per cent at all times.”
While he admits it’s a shame he never got the chance to play for Atletico, Jonny is settled in Wolverhampton and has no regrets about the move.
“Atleti are one of the best clubs in the world, so yes, you could say it’s a shame not to have actually played for them, but my priority is always myself and my family are happy – and we are very happy,” he said.
“It’s best not to worry about what could have happened if things had turned out differently. This club put a lot of trust in me and I want to pay them back.”
Having signed a four-and-a-half-year contract at Wolves, it is perhaps just as well Jonny feels at home off the pitch.
His English is not yet strong enough for interviews – this one is conducted in his native language – but as one of two Spanish players at the club with Adama Traore, plus a host of team-mates who are Portuguese, which he speaks as well, he gets along fine with everyone at Molineux.
“That’s what has helped me a lot. There are a lot of Spanish speakers in the team and, being from Galicia, which is next to Portugal, I can also understand the Portuguese players,” he explained.
“I think it would have been more difficult if I was suddenly only surrounded by English players. I’m working on the language. But the city, the people…I have liked it all since I arrived.”