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Jeff Shi: Budget 'wasn't an issue' for Wolves regarding transfers

Wolves chief Jeff Shi insists budget was no issue for the club during the summer transfer window, despite a lack of further signings late in the transfer window.

Jeff Shi (Wolves/Getty)
Jeff Shi (Wolves/Getty)

Supporters were left underwhelmed by Wolves' transfer business on deadline day, despite the club bringing in the likes of Jose Sa, Yerson Mosquera, Francisco Trincao and Hwang Hee-Chan earlier in the window.

Head coach Bruno Lage went on the record with his desire to sign further players over the window, stating that he wanted three or four more 'top players' to help Wolves this season.

However, in a rare interview, Shi agreed with that desire - and also assured fans that budget constraints were not an issue in their attempts to secure signings.

"[Bruno] said he wanted three or four top players, and he’s right." Shi said, speaking with The Athletic.

"From a coach’s view, if he has those three or four top players, something special can happen. He’s spot on, I totally agree with that and I appreciate the ambition. But the market has been very difficult to acquire top players."

"Ask any club in the Premier League can they sign three or four top players in a window. Only a few can, especially this summer.

"We could have spent money on a player, the budget wasn’t an issue, albeit we can’t spend like Manchester City or Chelsea. We could easily have bought four or five players, but Bruno had the say on who he did or didn’t want.

"It’s not all about the budget, it’s about finding top players to come here, which isn’t easy. You need the player to be top quality, to want to move, the club [he’d be leaving] to want to sell and the fee to be more or less fair.

"Through the whole window, we were working collaboratively with Bruno every single day, trying 20 or 30 targets overall, but the coach was unsure about two-thirds of them, he didn’t think they were better than [what was already in] our squad.

"For example, we wanted a top centre-back, but if we couldn’t find a deal for one better than Willy Boly, Yerson Mosquera, Conor Coady, Max Kilman or Romain Saiss, why sign them? The truth is, it’s hard to buy one ‘top’ player, convincing a player to come, convincing a club to let the player come."

The club did see late moves for Renato Sanches, Boubacar Kamara and Kieffer Moore fall flat on deadline day - but many questioned the decision to act so late in the window.

There were positives to take from the window too, with the club managing to keep a hold of key players in Ruben Neves and Adama Traore, despite serious interest in the latter from Spurs.

Shi has defended Wolves' transfer strategy, confirming that Lage made the decision alongside himself and other higher-ups at the club to end their interest in players on deadline day.

"Bruno is OK, he understands how difficult it is, but from outside people might try to use his nice, honest quotes to attack us a bit." he said.

"I don’t want to correct [the fans], but inside the club we’re totally OK and the chemistry with the coach is great, we’re really happy with him."

"He was with us throughout the process; on deadline night, he was here with me and we jointly made the decision that we were done.

"We have 20 senior players right now. He maybe wanted 22, but the squad is still a very good one.

"People ask why did Wolves leave all their targets until the final day... It’s not the truth. All the targets on the last day weren’t totally ideal targets. We’d been working for several months on ideal top targets.

"If the opportunity came, the players we tried to sign could help. All the ideal targets were signed or went before the last day, but we worked until the last minute to try and strengthen the squad. It’s a positive sign to show our work spirit, not the opposite. We’re totally OK not signing anyone on the last day.

"I think it’s a good window, of course we can do better, but if you compare the squad to the end of last season, I think we’ve done a good job. The squad is larger, we have more fit players and we have players who are improving. I can’t say it’s the best window, but it was good.

"We have a clear plan and every new signing is the player we think is right."

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