Dean Saunders on Wolves and the transfer window

So now we know – at least from Wolves manager Dean Saunders’ perspective - events at Molineux that led up to the end of the January transfer window.

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Yes, the Wolves boss had money to spend in the January transfer window but on players who would be to the long-term benefit of the club, writes Tim Nash

No, the club aren’t having a firesale of their best players, and promotion back to the Premier League remains Saunders’ brief.

Yes, Marlon King would have been a replacement if Sylvan Ebanks-Blake had been sold.

Saunders was happy to dodge the one about Blackpool captain Alex Baptiste, but there are enough clues to suggest he remains on the radar for a summer raid.

And yes, the decision to allow Ronald Zubar to leave was Saunders’ and was taken to ease his “massive” salary from the wage bill.

“The chairman said my job was to try to get the club back to the Premier League,” said Saunders. “I also need to get better players than what we have got.

“That’s going to cost money, otherwise they’ll just sign for someone else, so we’ve got to pay the going rate on wages.

“We lost Jermaine Pennant, Steven Mouyokolo, Richard Stearman and Ronald Zubar, and Frank Nouble went a couple of days before I came in.

“I can assure the supporters we’re not just doing things willy-nilly. It’s vital we stay in this division – we weren’t going to sell all our players and be relegated.

“We’re trying to get ready for the start of next season and gather the money up so it’s spent on players I want for the next two or three years, not players who we’re having to pay loan fees on who are just trying to keep us in this league.

“It wasn’t that there was no fresh money – if the chairman feels it’s someone we’d be putting into place for next season and who will improve us, he’s prepared to spend the money.”

Asked why no money was spent, Saunders said: “We couldn’t get the players in – we were getting quoted £1.5m for players out of contract at the end of the season.

“Birmingham didn’t want to sell any of their players to us, which you can understand, but I felt they would have added something.

“There were also a couple of others but I asked myself whether they were any better than what we’ve got and there weren’t many.

“For example, if you try to find a left-back, there aren’t many available of the necessary quality, as we speak.”

Saunders was keen on King but admitted Blues’ top scorer would only have come if Sylvan Ebanks-Blake had been sold.

“If we lost Sylvan, then that (King) would have been one route to go down,” he said.

“We could have had him on a free transfer but it wasn’t (free) in the end.”

As for potential signings, Saunders revealed there was only one player Wolves went for seen as a key signing for beyond this season.

That man is believed to be Blackpool defender Alex Baptiste.

“There’s only one player I tried to sign who I see in my plans for next season, to put the first building block in place,” he said.

“We made a big offer on him but we might have to wait until the summer to get him. He’s contracted to another team until the summer and he’s not available.

“We never put a written offer in, but it was knocked back verbally.

“But I’m still pursuing that one and we’ve got to be better defensively.”

Asked if it was the Tangerines skipper, Saunders would only say: “He’s contracted to Blackpool.”

Wolves could have lost Kevin Doyle on loan to Celtic at the 11th hour and Saunders is relieved owner Steve Morgan backed him.

“They tried to sign him at 10.45pm I think,” said the boss.

“It was very late in the day and how can I replace him inside a quarter of an hour?

“I think the chairman said no to the deal and I told the chairman I didn’t want him to go.”

Right-back Zubar was the most controversial departure, to French side AC Ajaccio, after he played in Saunders’ first three games.

But Saunders insisted his departure made sound football and business sense.

“He did well, but he was on massive wages, his contract was up in the summer and we wouldn’t have been able to sign him again for the wages he was on,” he said.

“Also, there were some inroads made in his transfer before I arrived.

“We were going to shed five or six players no matter what happened to get the squad smaller and we saved a lot of money on his salary which I can use in the summer.”

Saunders on Alex Baptiste: -

Blackpool defender Alex Baptiste is believed to be a player Wolves had a sizeable bid turned down for in the January window.

“I can’t say (who) because he’s contracted to another team until the summer and he’s not available,” said Saunders.

“There’s only one player I tried to sign who I see in my plans for next season, to put the first building block in place.

“We made a big offer for him but we will have to wait until the summer to get him.

“We never put a written offer in, but it was knocked back verbally.

“But I’m still pursuing that one. We’ve got to be better defensively.”

Saunders on Kevin Doyle: -

Kevin Doyle’s loan to Celtic didn’t go through because the lateness of their bid meant manager Dean Saunders had no time to sign a replacement.

“They tried to sign him at 10.45pm I think,” said Saunders.

“From what I can gather, for them to come in as late as they did, he must have been second or third choice.

“They must have been thinking about someone else and eventually tried to get Kevin, but it was very late in the day.

“And how can I replace him inside a quarter of an hour?

“I think the chairman said no to the deal and I told the chairman I didn’t want him to go.”

Saunders on Marlon King: -

Birmingham striker Marlon King was a Wolves target – but only if they sold in-demand Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

Boss Dean Saunders also wanted Blues defender Curtis Davies, but had bids turned down for both players.

“I was thinking if we lost Sylvan, then (King) would have been one route to go down,” said Saunders.

"We could have had him on a free transfer but it wasn’t in the end. Blues didn’t want to sell any of their players to us, which you can understand, but I felt they would have added something.

"We were getting quoted £1.5m for players out of contract at the end of the season.”