EPL

Robinson hopes Wolves keep Traore and Jimenez amid transfer speculation

By Sports Desk July 10, 2020

Carl Robinson hopes Wolves keep star duo Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez, but the former midfielder knows the Premier League club may have to sell in order to improve their squad. 

Traore and Jimenez are reportedly attracting plenty of interest as Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves continue to challenge the Premier League's elite since their return to the top flight in 2018-19. 

Wolves, who finished seventh last season, are sixth through 34 matches this term and flirting with another European berth thanks to Traore, Jimenez and a star-studded squad, including Portugal internationals Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio. 

Jimenez – linked to Manchester United and Juventus – has scored 15 Premier League goals and tallied six assists in 2019-20, while reported Liverpool, Manchester City and Barcelona target Traore has set up nine goals and netted four of his own. 

While Traore and Jimenez could leave Molineux in big-money deals, Robinson insisted how Wolves reinvest transfer funds would be crucial in the club's bid to maintain their position and crack the Premier League's top five.

"The reality is, they've played fantastically well for Wolves this season, so there is going to be top clubs sniffing around them," Robinson, who made over 150 appearances for Wolves between 1995 and 2002, told Stats Perform News. 

"Wolves' decision will be: can they afford to keep them, can they afford to turn down these huge transfer fees and if they do and say we're going to turn down £70million for Traore, how can they invest and build the squad from where they are at the moment? 

"If they can't, they might have to look at the £70m and Nuno will ask the question, how much of that £70m can I have invested in the football squad because our starting point is lower than where we are today. That's why sometimes, unfortunately, managers lose jobs because their starting point is a lot lower, but expectations go higher based upon the club getting £70m and Nuno is spending £20m. 

"I hope they keep those players at Wolves because if they don't, there will be two major gaping holes. But I also understand football is a business and if they get £150m for two players, I'm not sure too many teams could turn that down. 

"You could bring in four or five £30m players. If you look at your squad, sometimes you have to go sideways, or backwards, to go forwards. But do it for the right reasons, do it because you're selling one of your key players knowing you have a youngster coming through in maybe 12 months.  

"That's an understandable plan you have as a club. That's why the executives and big boys are paid the big money, because they have to make major decisions. The buck stops with them. If they get it wrong, they lose their jobs." 

Wolves have come a long way since Chinese conglomerate group Fosun International purchased the club in 2016 – progressing from a mid-table side in the Championship to FA Cup semi-finalists last season and Europa League participants in 2019-20. 

Santo's side are six points adrift of fifth-placed Manchester United with four Premier League matches remaining, while Wolves – back in Europe for the first time since 1980 – are preparing to resume their Europa League last 16-tie against Olympiacos next month after the competition was suspended in March due to coronavirus following the 1-1 draw in Greece. 

"When you have Mexico's number nine, when you have three Portuguese international players, the Portugal international goalkeeper in your team, when you have four or five other players who cost you £10-15m each, when you have Adama Traore, who you've managed to buy and develop and now maybe possibly on the verge of a move to Liverpool for £70-80m, you have a standard of players that are of high quality," Robinson, now head coach of Australian team Newcastle Jets, said.  

"When you have better players, they are able to win you games in moments where games are tight. Games are tight in the Premier League especially. The investment has been fantastic, not only on the field but off it.

"They've tried to regain some of what Wolverhampton is about – it's a good old honest, working men's town. It's not the city, the bright lights of London, it's Wolverhampton. When you go there, you see it and you're proud to play for Wolves. But you're only proud to play for them if you understand what they're about. 

"They've managed to be successful and compete at the top half of the Premier League. That's very important and it's great, it's got the interest back in Wolves. It's good when they see their rivals – Aston Villa, Birmingham and West Brom especially – languishing.

"Their issue now, and it's a good issue to have, is to maintain where they are and keep up with the big boys, they need to invest at the minimum level to what they've already invested. We see football clubs sometimes going out of business and drop. Hopefully Wolves will never be at the stage because of the continued investment. 

"Most clubs in football are feeder clubs and I'll say this with the greatest respect to other than four or five teams, and even Premier League champions Liverpool had to sell Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho. They might have to sell either Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah because there are clubs bigger that can pay the money.

"As a club, you know if you're successful you will lose your key players. How you replace them is key. 

"Wolves are in a great place. Hopefully they can stabilise where they are for the next three, four or five years and then continually try to crack the top five or six, which won't be easy." 

Related items

  • Man City's Ferran Torres was inspired by David Silva at Valencia Man City's Ferran Torres was inspired by David Silva at Valencia

    New Manchester City signing Ferran Torres was inspired by David Silva when he started out at Valencia.

    Torres last week moved to City for an initial £21.1million, arriving as a replacement for Leroy Sane following his move to Bayern Munich.

    The Spain Under-21 winger joined Los Che as a seven-year-old, when Silva was part of a strong Valencia side regularly featuring in European competition.

    Silva left Mestalla for City in 2010 but had already made a mark on Torres.

    "When I started at Valencia, he was enjoying his best time at the club," Torres told CityTV of Silva, City's outgoing captain.

    "He was always an inspiration and then, when he moved to City, where he's been playing his best football, I've always admired him.

    "Above all, [what I liked was] his ability to hold the ball, his capacity to make the final pass and his quality."

    Asked what motivated him to join City, Torres highlighted the importance of manager Pep Guardiola in his decision.

    He said: "Being part of the project the club set out to me. My aim is to grow as a player. I have a lot of room for improvement and the fact of having Pep Guardiola as a manager was a big factor too.

    "It was crucial because he's one of the best, or I'd say the best manager in the world, and at the point I am at now in my career, he can get the best out of me.

    "I'm always trying to improve. I always like to ask the reason why we do things and I think this is fundamental for improving and also because I think I'm young and I still have lots of things to improve."

    Torres is confident he can quickly adapt to the Premier League after firmly establishing himself in the first team at Valencia in 2019-20.

    "The truth is that English football is a bit more physical than it is in Spain, but I really feel I'm ready and I'm looking forward to getting going as soon as possible," he said.

    "I'd say that I have more strength than speed. I also make good crosses, but above all I'd highlight my power and strength."

  • Wolves 0-1 Sevilla: Jimenez penalty miss costly as Ocampos sets up Man Utd semi-final Wolves 0-1 Sevilla: Jimenez penalty miss costly as Ocampos sets up Man Utd semi-final

    Lucas Ocampos punished Raul Jimenez's early penalty miss with a late winner as Sevilla beat Wolves 1-0 in Wednesday's Europa League quarter-final at the MSV-Arena.

    Sevilla have won the competition in its various guises a record five times and will now face Manchester United on Sunday for a place in the final.

    It may have been a different story in Duisburg had Jimenez converted from 12 yards but Yassine Bounou made a save and Ocampos glanced in the only goal two minutes from time.

    Wolves, whose European adventure started 13 months and 17 games ago, had too little time to respond and Sevilla saw things through to advance to another continental semi-final.

  • Shakhtar Donetsk 4-1 Basel: Taison and Marlos star to secure Inter semi-final in Europa League Shakhtar Donetsk 4-1 Basel: Taison and Marlos star to secure Inter semi-final in Europa League

    Shakhtar Donetsk eased past Basel 4-1 on Tuesday to book an intriguing Europa League semi-final against Inter.

    The 2008-09 UEFA Cup winners made light work of their Swiss opponents in Gelsenkirchen after scoring early through Moraes.

    Taison doubled Shakhtar's lead and further goals could and perhaps should have followed long before Alan Patrick's penalty made it three as Basel were dominated in the one-legged last-eight tie.

    Shakhtar, who got a late fourth through Dodo, will surely now back themselves to at least cause Antonio Conte's Inter problems next week, although this routine victory did little to test their readiness.

    Luis Castro's side led after just 100 seconds with the aid of some generous goalkeeping from stand-in Djordje Nikolic.

    Marlos delivered a corner from the right and Nikolic, playing due to Jonas Omlin's injury, lunged hopelessly towards the ball, granting Moraes an open goal when he got there first with the header.

    Afimico Pululu shot agonisingly across the face of goal at the other end, but Shakhtar remained in control and the second soon followed.

    A speedy break from halfway resulted in Marlos controlling on the right corner of the box, taking his time to pick out Taison, whose wayward attempt was deflected high into the net by Fabian Frei.

    Nikolic saved smartly from Moraes and was alert again as Marlos rifled an effort goalwards from 20 yards, before Marcos Antonio swept a stunning strike against the crossbar.

    Basel belatedly enjoyed a better spell just after the hour mark, but a VAR review did not provide Pululu with a penalty and then Arthur Cabral squandered a big opportunity, lifting his finish wide of goal with Andriy Pyatov stranded.

    There would be no fightback as Taison went over in the area and a spot-kick did this time follow, allowing Alan Patrick to calmly beat a scrambling Nikolic.

    There was still time for Dodo to thump in number four following Mateus Tete's well-timed pass on the counter, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel's stoppage-time tap-in from Kemal Ademi's centre the scantest of consolations. 


    What does it mean? Elite European experience tells

    This Shakhtar side are experienced campaigners in continental competition and made the most of the absence of a couple of key men in the Basel XI, with Nikolic and centre-back Jasper van der Werff each struggling.

    The Ukrainians showed their nous throughout a comfortable triumph, pouncing on Basel's errors while making few of their own. Inter should prove a different proposition.

    Marvellous Marlos dazzles

    Shakhtar's best work was channelled through Marlos, who excelled from set-pieces and so often picked the right pass in open play – as evidenced by his assists.

    The second goal in particular came courtesy of the winger's calm in the final third. With Shakhtar players bombing forward, Marlos steadied himself and, when he might have rushed a shot, teed up Taison.

    Nikolic nixes Basel hopes

    Shakhtar were clear favourites coming into this clash, but Basel did not need to look far for inspiration. Quarter-final underdogs Copenhagen had taken Manchester United to extra-time on Monday.

    But where Copenhagen kept things tight and relied on a standout performance from their goalkeeper, Basel's Nikolic quickly erred. The inexperienced 23-year-old was foolishly tempted from his line with less than two minutes on the clock and gave his side a mountain to climb.

    What's next?

    Shakhtar might find next opponents Inter a little less accommodating when they meet in Dusseldorf next Monday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.