Don Goodman has revealed he would improve the entire spine of Wolves’ team this summer to help them try to reach the top six.
The former Wolves striker, who told www.wolvesbite.com earlier this month that his old club can finish in the top six next season, now informs us they should be looking to strengthen the centre back, central midfield and striker positions – and possibly a goalkeeper, if John Ruddy decides he cannot remain on the fringes, this summer.
The attacking options are under scrutiny after former club record signings Ivan Cavaleiro and Helder Costa were made available for transfer.
“That’s a very difficult question (on where to improve Wolves),” the 54-year-old admitted. “If you’re talking about taking that next step, they need somebody to push that front two, they definitely need a central defender of high repute, maybe another midfielder. Right down the spine really.
“They have got strength in depth, but if they are going to add three more players to that squad with quality – players that will push for a start and not be guaranteed a start – then I think that’s how I perceive them getting to the next level.”
Ruddy waa happy to compete with first-choice goalkeeper Rui Patricio last season, when he was their cup keeper. But Goodman isn’t convinced that at 32, the former Norwich shotstopper will be happy playing second fiddle for so long again.
“You could even argue that if John Ruddy is coming towards the end of his career, he has to be playing,” said Goodman, who is now a summariser for Sky Sports TV. “So he might go for pastures new, and if that happens, it would be good for them to bring in a high calibre goalkeeper to push Rui Patricio.”
For all the excellent players that have played for Wolves over the last two years, Goodman is in no doubt who has been the most important signing – head coach Nuno Espirito Santo.
The Portuguese won the Championship title in his first season in charge then followed that up by finishing seventh and qualifying for the Europa League. That meant he secured Wolves’ highest finish in 39 years and first time in Europe in the same time period.
No wonder then that Goodman calls him ‘the magic man’.
“I don’t just focus on this season; I would focus on the two years that Nuno has been in charge, because don’t forget where the journey began,” added the former Sunderland, Albion and Walsall forward.
“It began with a team that finished 15th in the Championship but totally under-achieved after spending a decent amount of money and not getting anywhere near the heights required.
“They brought the ‘magic man’ in – because that’s what I call him – and the rest is history. So it’s been a two-year journey.”
And while some national pundits doubted how Wolves would fare after six years out of the top flight, Goodman had seen enough to be wholly convinced of their Premier League credentials.
“I never had a shred of doubt that they would do very well in the Premier League,” he said. “I told everyone who would listen that I’d been covering the Championship for 12 years now for Sky Sports and without doubt that was the best team I had seen come out of the Championship.
“I had no doubt that they would surprise a lot of people.”
* Don Goodman was speaking to www.wolvesbite.com courtesy of the generosity of The Cleveland Arms and manager Will Adamson, at a public event staged there.