After back-to-back seventh-placed finishes in their last two campaigns, Wolves have slipped down the table this season.
The Midlands outfit currently find themselves down in 13th, although they are nine points clear of the drop zone. With their Premier League status almost secured, the club can start looking ahead to the summer transfer window.
Wolves must use this period wisely if they are to move back into European contention next year. This means bringing in the right players to add to their squad, but also allowing players to depart who are no longer needed at Molineux.
Here, using data from Spotrac, GIVEMESPORT’s Sam Brookes takes a look at five players who ought to be shown the exit door at the end of the season to slash the team’s wage bill…
1. Joao Moutinho – Annual salary: £5,200,000
Moutinho is a classy operator, and has only failed to feature in two top-flight games in 2020/21.
However, he is the club’s joint-highest earner, and it seems like the right time for the side to start planning ahead.
The Portuguese international turns 35 in September, and has just one year left on his current deal. Wolves need to put more trust in their young midfielders coming through, and should opt to let Moutinho go at the end of the season.
2. Nelson Semedo – Annual salary: £4,000,000
Semedo has had a reasonable first season in the Midlands, but has not been as effective as Matt Doherty was last year.
The Portuguese full-back has not done a lot wrong, yet it seems that Doherty is more suited to Wolves’ style. Given that Doherty has been linked with a move back to the club, Wolves may be better off re-signing him and allowing Semedo to leave.
Semedo still has two years left on his contract, suggesting that Wolves would likely get a decent transfer fee if they decide to let him move on.
3. Adama Traore – Annual salary: £2,236,000
Traore can be devastating on his day. The problem is: that day has not come regularly enough this season.
Just one goal contribution in 28 league matches this year is nowhere near enough for a player of Traore’s ability. His end product has undoubtedly let him down.
However, according to Transfermarkt, he is still worth £31.5m. If Wolves receive an offer in this vicinity, they should accept it and look to re-invest by bringing in multiple players who can add something new to the side.
4. Marcal – Annual salary: £1,820,000
Marcal has hardly set the Premier League alight since joining Wolves last summer. The 32-year-old has made just 12 league appearances all year, with a combination of injuries and mediocre form preventing him from establishing himself as Nuno’s first-choice left wing-back.
As per WhoScored, his average game rating has been 6.46 this term, ranking him 16th amongst his teammates. The side need more from their wing-backs.
Marcal’s contract runs out next year, meaning that this summer represents a good opportunity for Wolves to sell him for a suitable price.
5. John Ruddy – Annual salary: £300,000
The former Norwich City goalkeeper has been at Wolves for the last four years, and has made just 65 appearances during that time. Indeed, he has only featured once in the Premier League this season, and is clearly just a back-up option for Rui Patricio.
Ruddy’s contract is set to expire this summer, and it seems unnecessary for Wolves to offer him a new one.
The club are set to put their faith in youngster Matija Sarkic to take the role as Patricio’s understudy next year, so Ruddy is likely to be shown the exit door.
By getting rid of these five players, Wolves would save themselves £13.6m in wages next year.
The club have been linked with Lucas Ocampos and Aaron Boupendza in recent days, and could tempt the duo over to the Premier League if they manage to slash their wage bill by offloading a handful of players from the current squad.