Wolves favourite Mike Stowell believes his former club need four to six signings this summer to compete for a top-six place next season and sustain a Europa League push.
Stowell, now Leicester’s long-term first-team coach and goalkeeper coach, claims Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have been an ‘inspiration’ to finish seventh in their first season back in the Premier League.
But the 54-year-old warned they cannot afford to stand still. Stowell has seen just what can be achieved by a Midlands club having been part of the Leicester staff as they won the Premier League in 2016 then reached the Champions League quarter-finals the following year, only to stumble with their League form.
“I think Wolves have had a fantastic season and to get where they have got in their first season back in the Premier League, don’t understimate how hard that is,” Stowell told www.wolvesbite.com
“The FA Cup was a tough pill to swallow because they were so close to getting to the final, but leaving that aside, it’s what you do over a season, and for where they are and the football they have played, for me, they have been an inspiration. I can only see them getting stronger.”
Wolves want to push on after finishing seventh this time, but Stowell warned they must invest by making up to half a dozen new arrivals this summer, and even that is no guarantee of progress.
“You need two players for every position. They have probably got 18 top players, but I would say you need 22 to 24 to compete,” added Stowell, who holds the Wolves appearance record for a goalkeeper with 448.
“There might have a couple underneath coming through but ultimately you need two quality players in every position. That’s what Manchester City have.
“So when you have played that difficult Europa League game away at Azerbaijan on a Thursday night, and you play Crystal Palace away on the Sunday, you’ve got the firepower to change it and freshen it up.”
Stowell has witnessed the effect of how draining a European campaign can be on top of a club’s Premier League commitments. A year after winning the title with 81 points, Leicester finished 12th and accumulated 37 fewer points the following campaign, when they had the added burden of 10 games in the Champions League.
“It takes its toll massively,” he admitted. “We had such a good Champions League campaign but we couldn’t sustain it. We had the same 10 (outfield) players playing week-in, week-out and it was just too much for them.
“If that’s what Wolves want, that’s what they have got to do. Don’t sit still or rest on our laurels, you’ve got to keep pushing forwards and go again.”
Stowell is convinced that the way for Wolves to continue their remarkable progressin is by following the example set by clubs such as Manchester City and Liverpool and investing heavily in the right players.
“The next step has to be progression. You cannot sit still,” he said. “Do not think what they have achieved this season with that group of players – like what we achieved with our group of players – that they can do it again because they got us here.
“No, you have to progress. Man City, after they won the league, went out and bought a £50m right back (Kyle Walker). That’s progression.
“You need to keep going. Unless you have the best scouting network and academy in the world, you have to go and buy these players, because you need them for now.
“You don’t need them for five or six years down the road, you need them for now.”
* Mike Stowell was talking to www.wolvesbite.com courtesy of his appearance at A Night with Mike Stowell and Don Goodman at The Cleveland Arms, Willenhall Road, Wolverhampton. Www.wolvesbite.com is thankful to Will Adamson for arranging interviews with both former players, and to both ex-players for giving their time.