2020/21 was a weird old season for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

There were lots of ups and downs, and it’s fair to say quite a lot of fans are pleased it’s over and done with.

It culminated in a 13th place finish and Nuno Espirito Santo leaving by mutual consent, which is news some are still trying to process.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United - Premier League
Nuno Espirito Santo (Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

The search for a new man to take the club forwards is on, and while that’s going on it’s probably a good time to reflect on the last campaign.

Here are some takeaways from the 2020/21 season:

Wolves badly need a marquee defensive signing

Wolves shipped 52 goals in their 38 Premier League games, which was up from 40 in 2019/20 and 46 in 2018/19.

Everton v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Richarlison scores for Everton (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

There were so many ‘bad’ goals conceded and there were many times it just felt as though having someone with top, top quality in the backline would have potentially prevented goals being scored.

Wolves’ most expensive signing this summer needs to be a new central defender, and he preferably needs to be dominant when it comes to defending set-pieces.

Ait-Nouri and Vitinha should be bought

Of Wolves’ three loan signings this season, Rayan Ait-Nouri has looked the best and should be bought by Wolves.

The twinkle-toed Frenchman looks like he has the potential to be a top full-back, he just needs to improve defensively.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Rayan Ait-Nouri (Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

Vitinha has also probably done just about enough to warrant a permanent transfer – he looks like he has the attributes to be a long-term Joao Moutinho replacement.

Willian Jose’s move from Real Sociedad didn’t quite work out, and the club should not be looking to sanction any deal there.

Promising Silva

Fabio Silva finished the 2020/21 campaign with four first-team goals to his name, and he did the very best he could.

He played far more than expected as a result of the injury to Raul Jimenez, and some of the criticism he’s had on social media has been ridiculous and completely lacking in perspective.

West Bromwich Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Fabio Silva (Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

You can tell he has a great football brain. He’s obviously very raw, and once he bulks up and becomes a bit more ruthless, Wolves will be laughing.

 

Pedro Neto is a star in the making

Perhaps the shining light of Wolves’ 2020/21 season was the breakout of Pedro Neto.

The star took that first to season to acclimatise, but he caught everyone’s attention this term.

Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Pedro Neto (Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

Up until his injury Neto, 21, was consistently Wolves’ best player, and you could see in games that defenders were fearful of him.

Hopefully under the right coach he can truly explode in 2021/22.

The team missed the fans

All clubs have missed their fans, but Wolves really struggled in the absence of supporters at Molineux.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United - Premier League
Wolves fans (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Conor Coady spoke after the defeat to Manchester United, and felt he and his teammates perhaps missed them more than any other side.

Certainly there were some games where Wolves were just so flat, and that lack of a 12th man was often to their detriment.

Moutinho powers on the wane

He was outstanding in his first two campaigns for Wolves, but it’s clear Moutinho is on the decline, which is a real shame.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Joao Moutinho (Photo by Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images)

He turns 35 later this year so it’s to be expected that his shine is dimming.

Class is permanent though, and if the new man that comes in can manage Moutinho’s workload appropriately – a bit like how Pep Guardiola does with Fernandinho at Manchester City – then he can still have a good impact at Molineux.

4ATB the way to go?

Nuno Espirito Santo may well have laid the foundations for change at Wolves regarding what system will be played going forwards.

The team looked very good going forwards when set up with 4 At The Back.

Fulham v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Wolves (Photo by Glyn Kirk – Pool/Getty Images)

The system plays more into the hands of attacking stars Neto, Jimenez, Daniel Podence and Adama Traore.

Hopefully the new manager will be keen to give it more prominence.

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