Dean Saunders today admitted he could have a two-year rebuilding job on his hands to chop his Wolves squad down to size.
The new Molineux boss is trying to trim his squad down from around 40 to 25, but with players on high salaries and the club demanding sizeable fees, they are not proving easy to shift.
Saunders was encouraged by last night’s performance in the 1-1 draw against Blackburn in his first game in charge.
But he still wants to slash the number of players in the squad. Ipswich are keen on Ronald Zubar – who was a surprise starter last night – and Richard Stearman.
But the Tractor Boys won’t pay the fees for either, with Wolves understood to be seeking £1.8m for Stearman and around a third of that for Zubar, who is out of contract this summer.
“I’d rather have 25 all thinking they’re not far off the team,” said Saunders.
“So it’s going to take me maybe a couple of years to thin that squad down. We can’t just pay everyone off and let players go for nothing.
“A lot of them are good players and we paid a lot of money for them.”
Saunders, who has been linked with a host of players over the last few days, wants to use any money saved on buying better quality.
“If we got the squad down to 25, think of all the salaries we’d be saving,” he said. “Then we could turn those salaries into paying players with more class.”
Saunders sprang two surprises with the inclusion of Zubar and a full Wolves debut to striker Jake Cassidy. And he revealed Zubar could yet have a part to play.
“I spoke to him on Thursday and I’m going to have to sit down with Jez because I don’t know what’s gone on regarding conversations between agents and players and clubs coming in for some of ours,” added Saunders.
Saunders said it wasn’t a difficult decision to bring in Zubar for his first start since September. “It was the easiest selection – they lost to Luton so no-one was safe after that,” he said.
“I thought Josh King and Colin Kazim-Richards were going to play for them, and Zubar is like lightning.”