Wolves: Everton & Nottingham Forest charges vindicate transfer policy – Gary O’Neil

Wolves- Everton & Nottingham Forest charges vindicate transfer policy - Gary O'Neil

Wolves’ summer transfer policy has been vindicated after Everton and Nottingham Forest were charged for breaching the Premier League’s financial regulations, says manager Gary O’Neil.

The two clubs have been referred to an independent commission for alleged breaches of profit and sustainability rules (PSR) in their 2022-23 accounts.

Wolves stayed within the rules after reducing their transfer spending.

“We are delighted the club managed to correct things,” said O’Neil.

“You have seen what has happened this week with a couple of charges. The club have worked really hard to make sure that doesn’t happen to us.

“I am keen to make sure we are in a good spot now but also think about what the club looks like in two or three years.”

After pushing forward their spending plans to January to support former Spain manager Julen Lopetegui in what turned out to be a successful survival fight last term, Wolves drastically reined in their transfer strategy in the summer.

Skipper Ruben Neves was at the top of a list of experienced players who were allowed to leave Molineux. Nathan Collins was sold to Brentford, Conor Coady went to Leicester and Raul Jimenez moved to Fulham.

After a lot of soul-searching, Lopetegui also left on the eve of the opening game against Manchester United, believing Wolves would struggle to retain their top-flight status.

Amid huge supporter discontent, chairman Jeff Shi was forced to issue an open letter to fans, insisting Chinese owner Fosun is committed to the club but that PSR restrictions were real and he was not prepared to take risks which might involve them being breached.

The fan fears have proved unfounded. Wolves are 11th in the Premier League. Victory at Brighton on Monday would take them to within a point of a European qualification slot.

The 3-2 FA Cup third-round replay win against Brentford – when Collins was on target for the visitors – booked an eagerly awaited fourth-round trip to local rivals West Brom and featured a key goal from 18-year-old home grown striker Nathan Fraser.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters mentioned at the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing on Tuesday that he had to protect the clubs who stuck to the rules.

So, while Everton and Forest are sweating on potential points deductions after being charged for breaching profit and sustainability thresholds, Wolves are in the clear.

“Doing what we did in the summer was incredibly important and of course it could have gone wrong,” added O’Neil.

“We could have been sat on 12 points and everyone would have been moaning around the players we have lost. But that isn’t the case. Twenty-eight points is a really good return.

“We are delighted the club managed to correct things and are not involved in any of those uncertainties and charges and risk of losing points.”

It also means O’Neil may have to be creative to bring in the striker he feels Wolves need this month.

West Ham’s Danny Ings has been mentioned but his wages may prove prohibitive. Fraser could get an extended chance but, at 18, O’Neil feels it would be asking a lot to believe he can lead the attack on his own.

“We have been trying to bring in a number nine since the day I arrived,” he said. “We are trying to find something that fits where we are financially but also that helps, which is hard.

“It is important we don’t expect too much from Nathan. The Premier League is a tough place to play as a number nine when you are 18.

“I am sure we will get at least one done up there but always with the best interests of the long-term future of the club in our minds as well.”

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