Kenny Hibbitt has urged Wolves fans not to panic because major signings will come.
The 68-year-old Molineux legend is as excited as any supporter having watched many of the games last season, when the club finished seventh, the highest since 1979-80 when he played a major part in their sixth-placed finish.
Wolves have been linked with a host of names but the only confirmed interest is in Albion striker Salomon Rondon, who will be sold this summer after a successful season on loan at Newcastle. Young Paris Saint Germain defender Raphael Nya, 19, looks set to sign a three-year deal to go into the Under-23s.
Hibbitt, who scored 114 goals in 574 games for Wolves from 1968-84, is convinced Nuno Espirito Santo will strengthen his squad with ‘two or three’ additions down the spine of the team.
“I’m a Wolves fan and we’re all looking for improvements, because they can improve,” said Hibbitt. “We’re all thinking ‘who’s going to be the big signing?’ and they’re all excited about it and they’re disappointed they haven’t seen that at the moment.
“But I am sure it will happen. I can see two or three signings being made – a defender, a midfielder and a striker; he will be looking at players that can put pressure on those that are regulars in the team. I am not worried about it at the moment because I still think there’s a lot of time to add players to the squad.”
Hibbitt stressed the importance of signing the right players, rather than risk upsetting team spirit by bringing in the wrong sort who might compromise the strong unity in the camp.
“Just because you sign two or three players, it doesn’t mean to say they’re going to be successful,” he warned. “We’ve got a great camaradie and team spirit in that club, so it’s important we bring in the right characters in there. We want players to come in who want to wear the Wolves shirt and be proud to do so, not because it’s a good contract.
“I think Nuno is very experienced at that, and he won’t bring anyone in who won’t bring 100 per cent effort from them. It’s not easy because agents and players can be very difficult to deal with, but Nuno knows what he is doing.
“But I’m not surprised at the excitement from fans wanting to see new signings. We’ve just had a fantastic season and we should have been in the FA Cup final and I was disappointed because I felt we were going to get there.”
Hibbitt also believes it is possible for Wolves to sustain their development in the Premier League with a run in the Europa League. If they’re successful, Wolves face six games even before the group stages of the competition, putting pressure on a small squad.
“Looking from the outside, I think they could,” he said. “Nuno knows what he’s doing and he knows what the club are capable of. He knows the squad and his players and we all know the Premier League is a bigger priority to the club than playing in the Europa League, so we will see.
“We haven’t signed anyone as yet, so maybe there will be a couple or three additions, and I think you need a big squad if you’re going to go into Europe, whether it be Champions League or Europa League. I’m talking about numbers, because we have got quality.”
Wolves were very lucky with injuries last season, using just 19 players up until the last minute of the Fulham game, when Will Norris and Max Kilman were introduced but didn’t touch the ball.
“Key players were never out for long periods, so that was a bonus to the manager and staff and to the fans because they were seeing the players week-in, week-out,” said Hibbitt. “It was nice to avoid three or four long-term injuries because some clubs have that problem.
“We didn’t and hopefully that can continue in this coming season, and, with the Europa League matches coming thick and fast, we will keep our fingers crossed that they keep clear of serious injuries.”
Hibbitt is confident Wolves will continue to look to strengthen the squad and not rest on their laurels from last season.
“I would never criticise a manager who has done so well in the previous season, but you can’t live on that, that’s history now,” he added. “But Nuno will know that, and I know as a player, once you get a taste of it, you want to keep it going.
“When we finished joint third (in 1970-71) we needed two or three players to take us that extra step. It didn’t happen, and financially, we weren’t in a position to bring experienced, good quality players in and consequently I think we suffered through that.
“But it’s different now. The investment is fantastic; I love it. Having spent last season travelling with the fans and spending time with them, the excitement is there and it’s our turn to see the club bounce back to where it used to be. Last season we did that to a certain degree, but now we want a bit more.
“That’s what fans pay their money for and they want to see a little bit more than they achieved last season.”