By 90Min
July 17, 2018

Wolverhampton Wanderers have had a meteoric rise over the past year under Portuguese Nuno Espirito Santo, after he left Porto to sign a three-year deal with Wolves last summer, instantly getting to work installing his ethos and style of play into the players.

Heading into his first season in English football, Santo started to bring in some highly rated talents. 

The capture of Ruben Neves for a reported £15m caught many eyes around football, after the midfielder had been linked with Premier League clubs in the previous transfer windows, and the loan signing of Atletico Madrid winger Diogo Jota - who Santo signed during his time as Porto boss (the deal was made permanent at the end of the season for a reported €14m) showed his ambition.

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The 44-year-old, despite favouring a 4-3-3 at Porto, opted for a 3-4-3 formation in the Midlands. In this system, composure and willingness to take the ball from the goalkeeper to draw markers out have enabled the team to use their range of passing to switch play and inject urgency into attacks to catch teams off guard, worked to emphatic effect .

Fast-forward a year, and Wolves are set to make their Premier League return on August 11th, after a six-year absence, when they face Everton on the opening day of the season.

Santo's success in the transfer market is believed to be down to Wolves' Chinese owners' connection to Gestifute, a company headed up by Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes - who Santo knows personally.

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Thanks to the connection with the Wolves hierarchy, Mendes has been an amazing asset. He facilitated Neves' move to the club, being the highly-rated midfielder's agent. With 52-year-old in the fold, Wolves have been linked to countless quality Portuguese internationals. Wolves' transfer dealings, dubbed the 'Portuguese revolution', look unlikely to slow down, with Joao Mario most recently being linked. 

Alongside Neves and Jota, Wolves have added Portugal number one Rui Patricio from Sporting CP to their squad, whether that was helped because of Mendes and Wolves' connection or not, the signing has the potential to make Wolves a force to be reckoned with this year.

Wolves could well be this year’s surprise package after their long awaited return to the top flight. As mentioned above, they had stellar season last year in the Championship, finishing on 99 points - nine points ahead of Cardiff and 11 ahead of Fulham.  

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It's possible that they could surprise pundits and teams alike this year with their expansive counter-attacking play. Wolves were the Manchester City equivalent in the Championship last season, and they could be the Swansea equivalent this year. The good, Rodgers and Laudrup version, that is. 

They have the ability to show many clubs what they can do. Wolves possess top quality players and with Santo at the helm, and it's hard to see them not succeeding in the Premier League.

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