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Matt Maher: It really is time to start talking about Bruno Lage

There is a strong case to be made for Bruno Lage being the Premier League’s manager of the season so far.

Wolves head coach Bruno Lage
Wolves head coach Bruno Lage

Granted, the casual observer might struggle to look past Pep Guardiola and the nine-point lead Manchester City currently hold at the summit.

Yet the champions, with their colossal investment, are exactly where everyone expects them to be. Look across the rest of the league and – with the possible exception of Graham Potter at Brighton – it is difficult to find a manager exceeding expectations as much or maximising his resources so well as the Wolves head coach.

On that first point, it is worth recalling hopes for the season were not tremendously high after a summer where it appeared Wolves had failed to address some fairly glaring gaps in their squad. More than a few supporters were left fearing a campaign of struggle.

Instead, they are now dreaming of a return to Europe after a fourth win in five matches left Wolves sitting eighth in the table, four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United and four ahead of Brighton, who sit ninth.

It’s impressive work, considering it has been achieved by and large with the same squad which laboured to a 13th-placed finish just eight months ago.

A healthy Raul Jimenez has undoubtedly helped but it is Lage who has chiefly been able to refresh players who appeared to be approaching their Molineux best before date.

Doing it after stepping into the shoes of one of the club’s most successful and iconic coaches only adds to the credit.

The final days of the transfer window promise to be interesting. The case for and against Wolves making big moves in this window was laid out in this space a few weeks ago and the circumstances haven’t really changed.

For all the struggles of Tottenham and United, any finish higher than seventh is unlikely and the Europa Conference League, while fun for supporters, isn’t particularly lucrative for the club.

Yet Lage could hardly be doing more to make the case he is a coach who deserves a bit of backing.

If Wolves do move Adama Traore on before Monday’s deadline, it would only seem right if those funds were quickly reinvested in those areas of most pressing concern.

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