Dean Saunders on a two-year mission to rebuild Wolves squad

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.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Comments for: "Dean Saunders on a two-year mission to rebuild Wolves squad"


Foley better at back of park anf Johnson played for his shirt-Slopy at time but an entertainning game-

Crowd a little more vocal epecially the last 20.

Doyle for me need to improve but perhaps DS can do that-

Keep the faith- Morgan you and Moxey are no where near off the hook-

Crazey Dave

WHAT !?!?!?!?!

FOLEY IS TERRIBLE .... Foley needs to go ... Zubar has his bad and good games ... and we need a decent centre back to team with Johnson or Berra so when they make their odd mistakes he can cover them.

Doyle is awful player (dont see what people see with him he spends more time on his butt than on his feet he doesnt even hold the ball up

Cassidy was a trooper her played his heart out and tried to show he is worth a squad place but still not good enough for first team action each week

Blake has lost his touch since he was last down in the championship

Sako cant fault him tbh (apart from his corners were poor after a while struggled to beat first man) his runs are the only thing that keeps me thinking that we may win a game with his skill and unpredictability he can either cut in or take it to the line with a cheeky cross in the box

Ikeme needs a decent defence and he will be fine because atm he is playing like a trooper hennessey will stuggle to get back in the squad with him


Doyle s problem is he should never have signed for Wolves in the first place. A good player who has been dragged down by poor players to their level.


Fully agree about poor Doyler! Sad to see him in the state he is, with no disrespect.

Like Fletcher, he should have done a runner, though his loyalty is commended.

Here's hoping he goes on a good run...for Wolves, and leads us up the table with some other, hopefully, resurrected senior players of (once ) known quaulity!



i hope you are still here in two years ,goodluck deano

Wolf at Gate

Maybe Stolle should have been given 2 years to revamp the squad ! He seems to have started well with Sako, Prezko ( Loan), Sigurdasson and Bukhari and a plan to get rid of MMs favourites !


totally agree


100% agree....if Deano is being given 2 years to get things right then so should have Stale.

Scowling Joe

No. We need to get Sunblokken out, out now!!

Sunblokken OUT

Sunblokken OUT

Sunblokken OUT!!!

Not keen on the Last Manager. Or the CEO

Sorry but the man was ALL TALK and NO ACTION.

Wenger's waterbottle

Totally agree Stale needed time to build squad.

Has Dean got a two year contract? Ummmmmm

Look at the players who played well last night - ALL Stale purchases and he got Johnson working well.

Time is a great healer. Stale would have had us playing football that was different to Mick's. Now we are back six months with a manager who advocates Mick style.

What is the Morg doing?

Old Golds Worth More

Its called learning from past mistakes. MM should have gone at the end of the second premiership season, he didn't, Morgan left it to late and we were history. Any manager needs the changing room fully behind him to succeed, Stale didn't have that luxury (despite the usual "we are right behind you" rubbish spouted by the usual suspects!) Morgan acted quickly before we suffered a double relegation (which admittedly we still might), can you imagine what the reaction in these forums would be towards Morgan and Moxey, if that happened under Stale after all those defeats in a row, and nothing was done about it? I think Deano will certainly get us out of any relegation threat, but as to challenging for a play off place, that will more then likely prove a step to far! There are far to many players from MM's tenure still here, its these players that need to be moved on, before we will see much progress made.

English Exile

4 days...........

North Bank

Clubs are always looking for the 'quick fix' subsequently losing sight of the long term plan. I truly believe that with a few reinforcements and offloading our congested squad, Stale would have succeeded next year. But now we will never know, is Saunders the right appointment? Only time will tell


Spot on me Mon......but we have to get behind Dean might work!


yeh he did a great job in the defence didnt he

spanish ray

Zubar,in my opinion should be given a chance and under DS maybe get his game back in order.As for Stearman,Ward,Henry,Berra and Edwards I would get rid of quickly.Let McCarthy have them if he wants but don`t give them away,nominal fees should get them off the books.Get the money for Liegh Griffiths we don`t want him he has an attitude problem,Hunt is also a waste of space.I feel a little more confident in Dean Saunders although there is a long way to go.

k wolves

totally agree , except berra .

Orlando Wolves

I tend to agree with you about Berra.....he is a spoiler type of player - much in the mould of John Holsgrove....another who was not exactly appreciated at the Molineux, but highly effective nevertheless. He was in the team which got to a European final against which, sadly, we lost.


colehill wolf

when you say get rid of Hunt you obviously did not read or take heed what Saunders said about him


Why would you say we need to get rid of Henry and Ward? They are two of our best players, always give it there all and we are not the same team without them. Have you not noticed... when Henry doesn't play.. We lose!!

and i suppose they win when they play do they !


i agree about zubar but play him in his best position centre back in place of berra?he's got pace to burn and thats what we need at the back just like brum had with johnson and dann we could have with johnson and zubar,also keep henry and edwards they are good championship players and perhaps we could try ward up front after all he is a striker,,,,/\/\wwfc/\/\,,,,


Clearly those cristicising Henry have never played football. He is there to break up the play and battle and does his job extremely well, unfortunately he has no-one around him with any creativity (hopefully now O'Hara is back that will change). I have been impressed with Berra and Johnson and think its the full backs and forwards letting us down. Ward has been poor this year, he just cannot defend. Foley is not a winger/right sided midfielder, and we have nobody with any cutting edge up front. Sako has done ok and will run at the opposition but nobody else has any pace or trickery. We are to easy to play against. Hopefully Dean will sort this out but it will probably take 2 transfer windows at least!


Who is going to pay any money for dross!

Not keen on the Last Manager. Or the CEO

Ask Moxey and McCarthy, they bought them!!!!

Saunders Foot

Well ladies and gentlemen, there you have it, direct from the horses mouth. Morgan has gotta step in and stop Moxey holding this club back by demanding ridiculous transfer fees and acting like Jack the Biscuit, just so he can try and justify his fat , undeserved, salary. It may be under Morgans orders, I don't know, but does it seem like a Moxey trick to ask nearly 2 mil for a one legged camel. I had this argument in the past when he demanded 2million for Andy Keogh, what happened in the end ? Moxey wouldn't budge and we got diddly squat. With the position we're in, we can't keep taking this stance, it's come to the point where Jez is costing us more than he's worth, not just in salary, but in lost sales aswell. It's plain and simple bad business but Teflon Don just keeps shrugging his shoulders sits back and thinks of another way of moving the goal posts, or making things we don't want sound good. This is a football club, it can't function by accounts alone.


while im not a moxey fan, i think he shud get an extra pie for selling jarvis and fletcher at premium prices, was good business.

Not keen on the Last Manager. Or the CEO

Saunders. Totally agree. The biggest mistake Sir Jack made was employing him.

Kenny Hibbitts Left Foot

Moxey was brought in by Sir Jack as a hatchet man after "Goldentitgate" but he's stayed on to long!!


You need to have youth on your side if you are a Wolves' fan - and I no longer have that.

Ten By

If it takes 3 years,then so be it.As long as we play well and win games unlike the last 12 months garbage.

Good start Dean,it will get better soon.I feel happy to be a Wolves fan again.


what on earth makes you think we are going to play well - have any of his sides ever played football, and his own stated philosophy is simply to get it up to the front 2 as soon as possible. and as we saw last night that means simply lumping it forward whether anyone is there or not.


I just hope dean gets what he can for players who he wants to move on and bring in more players who want to give everything for our new man in charge, Deano will do it, i liked all the emotion showed by him last night a true football manager who's going to the very top and with us...


The comments attributed to Saunders are actually almost the same as those spoken by Solbakken at the start of the season. The squad is certainly too big for a championship club, but moving players out when they are on premiership wages is always a problem for any club who have just been relegated.

If Saunders thinks that he will be given 2 years to rebuild the squad, he needs to think again. At the moment he's on a 12 month rolling contract. If in 12 months time (probably less), Wolves are not serious contenders for promotion, then his contract will almost certainly be terminated by Morgan.

All newly appointed managers seem to come out with similar comments such as - it's big job to turn things round, or it's going take a lot of rebuilding, etc. To paraphrase an old Mowtown hit of the 60's: it's the same old song with a different singer.

Miser Jezz

Half salaries since relegation.


They are not on Premiership wages. Their wages were reduced when the team went down.


My comment was made partly as a generalisation, and in part to Wolves. I think that there are or were some players that had clauses in their contracts at Wolves, stating that their wages would be reduced in the event of relegation - but not all. It applied to Fletcher and Jarvis and that is why they made it clear they wanted to leave. It has been mentioned previously on this website that Johnson for one does not have this clause. An article published on here about a week ago mentioned the problem that Ipswich have of trying to sign Zubar and Stearman, not only because of the fee but also because of their wages.


at last a sensible comment.morgan priority is the house and training centre.player power and idiot owner has ruined a great club.whem wolves get ripped off in transfers for buying players they moan but when jez tries to sell players the same way the supporters still moan.the fans who wanted the last 2 managers out you should be disgusted with yourselves.morgan was in premiership and threw it away.the fans and morgan should back their managers.rome was not built in a day.

George Lowe

I don't think anybody expects us to challenge for promotion this season....

Filtonwolf (Bristol)

Very wise words Albrighton. I'm sure Stale thought he was on a similar 'journey'. That was until player power took him out (and I'm pretty sure that's what it was). Deano needs to be wary of that core of players from the McCarthy years. They have quote another song.................Comfortably Numb !!!


Crickey! The Wolves and Motown in one sentence. Just mention Northern Soul and you've put together the 3 wonders of my life! Ok, and my wife makes 4.


Everyone is pulling together as a unit now things can only get better, Deeeeeeeeenoo


'Deano', (as some dolts have started to call you, even before you started, but that's typical of 'Billy-no-mates footie fans), nice try; "Two years of building"; Who put you up-to saying that, now let me guess? Was it Laurel and Hardy by any chance, so the fans will be happy with staying up this year and a mid-table finish next season? Unbelievable how any fan can fall for this spin; Where's the money going Mr Morgan?


Do a buy one get one free offer, Like the unsold Christmas crackers at Asda This lot are proving difficult to shift? Now theirs a surprise.

Paddy Sharma

Well, here we go again. New manager , new start. No doubt, Dean has the passion and desire to take this club along way. First of all, he must reinstall the respect from the players that was lost for he club upon Micks departure. We all seem to forget the good work that was done by Taylor of whom built the club from base level. The academy, the youth etc,etc.

Yesterday's game for me was a crying shame for football. Two big massive clubs of whom use to boast sizeable crowds struggling to fill the stadium, both of which were the inspiration of two businessman that ploughed in thier own personal cash.

Western Isles Scot Wolf

20,000 + at the Mol for a Friday night tussle with Blackburn Rovers? Hmmmm....

Time will tell

antony compton

I am already a little concerned as I understand we have been linked with Ipswich's Jason Scotland, a defender from Hearts and a striker from Ireland. Cant help thinkimg its gonna be more of the same, Cheap and Cheerful. Thats why we have so many players, only 1 out of 5 is any good, and the rest we can sell, even for an empty bag of crisps. We must alter our policy and go for quality and experience, look at Cardiff ( Bellamy, Whittington, need I say more.


Why didn't Stale get 2 years then? Bed behaviour Morgan. This raises serious questions about Morgan, who is very leftfield in his decision making on footballmatters. He seems too Liverpool obsessed and I wonder if Liverpool buddies are bending his ear.Welcome Dean Saunders and I hope you do well. You seem a good bloke. However, he was on nobody's longlist because of his lack of experince. Can he take on our problematic squad members? It will be sad if we have to carry our failure/relegation players because they have long contracts at decent wages and no-one will buy. The following have shown they are whimps in the last 18months and should go as soon as possible - mediocre talent, no bottle, nor pride to play for the shirt, unable to adapt. Cliquey?........ Ward, Foley, Stearman, Elokobi, Edwards, Hunt, SEB and yes Doyle. Go quickly, you have shown a lack of professionalism and just play in your comfort zone

Mrs Solbakken

How can you have an empty bag of crisps surely you've just got an empty bag.

Stafford dave

Trojan - not everyone is pulling together, do you not read the posts on here?


I have never been a fan of Johnson, but was impressed by his performance.

Very disappointed with Cassidy, Foley & Doyle though.

A better game than I expected.

Lets hope that this is the start of bringing back the kind of football the fans deserve!

Cowshed Lad

What head,hoof and hope football, perhaps we'll be the new Stoke/Bolton !!!!


Albrighton Dek, if you are right that Dean will not have 2 years to build a decent team, then thats one of the problems of todays game. It is a bloody good job Man United never took that attitude, but thats one of the differences between our fans and theirs.Can you remember when they got relegated, their home gates never reflected that. One thing for all our fans serial moaners and the proper ones, if we don't allow our manager time get the team he wants right. Then i am afraid we won't be going anywhere for long, the team starts playing bad we moan gates start falling board flaps manager gets the sack. New manager appointed away we go again, nothing is going to change in those circumstances. COME ON THE WOLVES.


This whole exercise of pruning the squad is another example of smoke and mirrors a la Moxey. Figures being bandied about range from anything between 40 and 50 whereas I can only count 36 full professionals left after the departure of Nouble (numbered squad members plus Griffiths on loan and Tank).

Yes of cousre it's too many but that is because of the Club's policy over some time of buying second rate players who are not good enough at the required level and will only leave by natural wastage.

I wouls suggest the following measures to address the situation as quickly as possible..

1. Send Pennant back to Stoke forthwith.

2. Cash in on Griffiths's goal scoring exploits in Scotland asap, if necessary by imposing the 12 month option and getting as high a fee as possible, unless his services are required here which seems highly unlikely.

3. Ebanks Blake, Zubar, Hunt, Berra and Craddock are all out of contract at the end of the season so will leave anyway.

4. Offload Hammill and Johnsson in any way possible asap.

That would leave 27 including long term injured Elokobi, Hennessy, Myokoulo.

If anyone is remotely interested in Ward, Henry, Stearman, Edwards, de Vries (why -didn't we sell him to Liverpool?) or Foley then please price them realistically and get rid - none of them are worth any more than £500k or they would already be gone.

So Mssrs. Morgan and Moxey stop using this as an excuse to stop the Manager (whoever he was or is) spending on players because with a little bit of good housekeeping and imagination your squad could easily be down to 25 at the end of the season even after players have been brought in.


I counted the players last time all this '50 pros' stuff started.We had a squad number of 49 and I swear that was all the research that went into it. There were several unused squad numbers, we had about 25 senior players available, half a dozen kids with squad numbers (who had about 5 starts between them) half a dozen long term injured and a few out on loan. So on an average Saturday about 4 players who would be disappointed not to be involved in the squad. It's typical of the stuff that gets repeated so much everyone assumes it must be true.

If you think I'm wrong list the fit available payers who didn't make the bench on Friday.


If thats a better display then Wolves fans must like watching rubbish, go and watch non league and see lads playing for their shirts

Ghost of Glen Hoddle

Wolves' sale now on. Buy one, get one free..........

Orlando Wolves

Failing that Jez could always try a BUY A PIE, AND GET A FREE PLAYER promotion


You never know, it might just work...


Come on Morgan & Moxey it time to clear out some of this squad for whatever you can get and give the manager a chance to build a team that the fans deserve, you are happy to sack managers and pay out compensation to get rid of them. so cut your asking prices for some players who are not wanted at the club and lets see some quality at the club.


Poorly managed on the football side, Moxey should hold his head in shame,45 players thats a joke.

Cannot blame the managers for that.


2 years to rebuild the squad ???? More ridiculous comments , you won't be here in 2 years time , last nights performance was nothing special and as fir Saunders comments that the fans wl be in the edge of their seats !! Nearly fell off mine going to sleep , boring and predictable hood football . Not for me mate

The Unhappy Wanderer

Hanging on for good prices may make sense with players who have shown they can cut it in the Premier League, but we only had two of those (that's possibly being a bit harsh on Hennessey). Moxey needs to be realistic, or surely even he can see that we are pouring money down the drain in wages for players the manager is not going to pick; never mind the negative effect on team spirit.

Why should the players wages be a problem, though? I thought most of them were supposed to be on contracts which halved their wages when we were relegated.

Again, Saunders is making the right noises, but Solbakken also wanted to trim the squad; so we need to see Morgan and Moxey supporting the manager this time.

Glad to see he wants to focus on the sick notes who are happier drawing wages than playing football as well. We have too many players on long term injuries.

Noodle Vague

I don't know what the point is of getting "quality" in if you're just going to play hoofball. Saunders is just McCarthy II, perhaps he'll turn things round in the Champo but nobody survives in the Prem playing kick and rush.

Woolfie 4371

If DS THINKS HE'S GOING TO GET TWO YEARS HE IS CRAZY , I WASNT IMPRESSED BY HIS APPOINTMENT NOTHING CHANGED FOR ME. As for him saying we need to get rid of a load of under performing average over paid players, Who will want them we will still be in this position in 2 years cos they ain't gonna move they've got it too easy at the Mol. And he will be gone by end of season.

Dan the Man

Good morning, Mr. Saunders. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, etc.

Cue the theme music to 'Mission Impossible'. You know the rest!


Watched last nights game at home on sky . I can see where our fans are coming from !. Ain't been to a game for 4 years but keep my hand in by listening to local phone ins ,and local papers . We seem lost of ideas at times so we knock it 50 yards to strikers who are short in stature . We are all so static at times . We need 4-5 quality players , left back, centre half , mid fielder and a couple of forwards . Dean wasn't my first choice , but he has something , only time tell ,Good luck to him . Couldn't of got any worse . lets hope the board back him . UP THE WOLVES.

chris h

Why is it going to take two years to rebuild the team? Why cannot they get on with the job right now.They have had 3 years of Sky money at a total of over £100m plus a guaranteed £50million in parachute money.They told us a couple of years back that the expenditure on the new stand would not be at the detriment of spending on the team.They told us there was no need to sell Fletcher,Jarvis and Kightly ,but sell them they did. They should be millions in pocket and yet still they underwhelm us in the transfer market.Anyone with half a football brain could see last night where the problem lies.It is a lack of quality ,especially up front.We need pace,someone who can win and hold the ball upfront,someone who can worry opposing defences.The Blackburn central defenders could have smoked a cigar for most of the game .We also need creativity in midfield and it is sadly lacking.Effort and organisation are fine ,but there is no substitute for quality.This needs addressing now.If we have millions stashed away and can afford to pay a Chief Executive one of the highest salaries in football;it is about time he ensured the new manager was properly supported..And it is about time Steve Morgan started delivering on his previous promises.They treat the fans as mugs who will always turn up,whilst they do the minimum possible to improve our football team.


Keep up the good work Deano, a positive start. As for clearing players out, maybe they just need reformating after the last 6 months, as they must have some talent or they wouldn't be Professional footballers in the first place.

Mrs Solbakken

The fans do'nt always turn up mate i remember our last great slide into oblivion approx 3000 against aldershot.


Welcome to Molineux Dean. Get use to the officials giving dodgy decisions against us, it happens every game.

We ended up with 4 bookings on Friday, only Henrys was justified.

Yet Kasim-Richards made 4 bad challenges & stayed on the pitch?

Olson the left back chopped down Pezko near the end, should have been a 2nd booking.

Blackburn should have been down to 9 players at the end.

The lino who gave the dodgy pen certainly had a good Christmas!!!!

Down the gym soon me thinks via specsavers!!!!!!!!


It sounds like you are starting off on the right footing Dean.I only hope that you can get rid of the deadwood ASAP.No haggling over transfer fees,just get rid of them.


As I understood it mr moxey had already halved the players wages when we was relegated so wages should not be a big problem for moving players on.

Woolfie 4371

DS IF U THINK YOU'LL BE GIVEN TWO YEARS TO GET RID OF THIS LOAD OF OVER RATED OVER PAID VERY AVERAGE PLAYERS YOUR IN A DREAM WORLD MATE. We will still be in this position in two years time and you'll be gone come the end of the season when your found out to be a very average league 1 manager.


i like what deano is aiming for lop 15 salarys off the outgoing player bill and we could have another 3 or 4 players of o,hara and doyle quality in the starting 11 those type of players would get us up and keep us there but like he says its going to take 2 years so sit back and enjoy the rebuild guys give the bloke time

Vera W

Deano, like staale you will get 5 working days to get rid of the dead wood, what makes you think you are given better conditions than stale?


so who exactly are those 15-20 players who are excess to requirements? from the squad take out the kids on pro contracts and all you have is about 25 players left. and as for getting in quality do you really think so?

saunders has got the gig on the back of being told to trim squad, and wage bill - there arent going to be any new big signings. and which players of the doyle / ohara ilk are going to come to us - we got them when we were a premier league club!


Why did they sack MM? We are back to stupidity. Stale needed more time to build squad..

Mrs Solbakken

Ain't it better to have a team playing hoofball and winning than a team playing boring passing sideways and backwards football and getting hammered.


Just to register that Sean O Driscoll has been appointed Manager at Bristol City.

It will be very interesting to see which team finishes higher?

Will give credence to the Managerial Appointment?

Taxi Moron


Only TWO years, Deano?

As tight fisted as Mr. Morgan is, and all fair play to his business sense, because he has not gone overboard by putting us into the same sad position as nearly 90% of the rest of the country's professional football clubs, where they get behind in debt repay, borrowing against untold, unrealistic hoped for future equity in speculation as to how much their players are worth, etc., to somehow stay on the proverbial financial treadwheel; paying off debts nearly the equivalent of what they are twice worth (Read the Deloitte's 2011 Football Solvency Report)...

Mr. Morgan is going to avoid cutting losses as best he can, so says his nature, and recoup as much as possible from pore spending on now surplus to requirements.

I think more like three years to a better, thin cropped squad, and a full- fledged chance at the Premiership.

Best of luck, nonetheless, as it's early doors for the New Man. How he and his bosses get all this deadwood cleared from the hearth will be a mighty task. Many of these undesirable players will be hard to shift because they were a part of three relegation level performances, one ultimately bonafide, up in the Premiership, and to this year's dismal far !