Wolves’ net transfer spend over the last three seasons and what it means for Lopetegui’s future

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Julen Lopetegui is reportedly considering leaving Wolves due to Financial Fair Play issues, but what actually is the club’s net spend over the last three years?

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Julen Lopetegui’s future at Molineux is growing increasingly uncertain as a stand-off over a lack of signings is continuing with the club’s hierarchy.

Lopetegui has spoken publicly in the past about Wolves having to step back somewhat from big-money deals to adhere to Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, but a complete lack of spending has caused tensions.

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The Old Gold have had to cancel any planned moves for expensive targets and former star man Ruben Neves is yet to be replaced. Backup goalkeeper Tom King and right-back Matt Doherty – both for free – are the only additions as it stands.

Wolves have also had to sell plenty of players to balance the books. Neves, Nathan Collins, Conor Coady, Raul Jimenez, Dion Sanderson, Ryan Giles and Matija Sarkic have all gone, leaving Lopetegui with little squad depth.

Is Wolves’ FFP situation really that bad?

It’s difficult to understand the full extent of the FFP issues Wanderers are facing without seeing the bigger picture. It’s not just the transfers that impact the situation – daily running costs and wages are also taken into consideration.

Julen Lopetegui is considering leaving Wolves over the club’s financial issues, reports suggest.Julen Lopetegui is considering leaving Wolves over the club’s financial issues, reports suggest.
Julen Lopetegui is considering leaving Wolves over the club’s financial issues, reports suggest. | Getty Images

Revenue from matchdays and merchandise does of course help, but the extortionate outgoings from keeping Wolves competitive in the Premier League have really taken their toll. As have transfers from seasons gone by.

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What has been said about it?

Lopetegui alluded to the issues back in May but even he didn’t seem to know the full extent. “I have had a meeting [with Jeff Shi] and there are some Financial Fair Play problems I didn’t know before,” Lopetegui said, via BBC Sport.

“It has been a very hard year so we have to learn the lesson and do our homework to improve the team. I hope we will solve this issue. It’s very difficult to compete in the Premier League without investment,” Lopetegui continued.

Chairman Jeff Shi recently penned an open letter to supporters to bring about more clarity. “Fosun remains committed to Wolves and has never had any plans to sell the club. The club is a long-term project and an important one for Fosun,” Shi said.

“As the owners and management, one important thing we must learn and follow is the Premier League’s rules on profit and sustainability. Before the end of the 2023/24 season there will be an annual test and we are going to make sure we pass.

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“FFP sets a profit and loss limit for three rolling years, with a loss of £105 million the threshold. The club has gone through much more difficult tests in the past and will do so again in the future,” Shi continued.

What is Wolves’ net transfer spend over the last three seasons?

Wolves chairman Jeff Shi (R) recently penned an open letter to supporters about the FFP troubles.Wolves chairman Jeff Shi (R) recently penned an open letter to supporters about the FFP troubles.
Wolves chairman Jeff Shi (R) recently penned an open letter to supporters about the FFP troubles. | Getty Images

As previously mentioned, the daily running costs and other expenditures – as well as incomings – must also be considered, but taking a look at the net transfer spend can provide a decent insight into how Wolves are shaping up.

2023/24 net spend

A total of £55 million has been spent on signing Matheus Cunha (£44m), Boubacar Traore (£11m), Tom King (free) and Matt Doherty (free).

A total of £84 million has been raised by selling Ruben Neves (£47m), Nathan Collins (£23m), Raul Jimenez (£5m), Ryan Giles (£5m), Dion Sanderson (£1.5m), Hayao Kawabe (£1.3m) and Matija Sarkic (£1.2m).

This has led to a net transfer profit of £29 million.

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2022/23 net spend

A total of £134.8 million was spent on signing Matheus Nunes (£38m), Goncalo Guedes (£27.5m), Nathan Collins (£20.5m), Joao Gomes (£16.1m), Sasa Kalajdzic (£15.4m), Mario Lemina (£9.5m), Pablo Sarabia (£4.4m), Craig Dawson (£3.3m), Daniel Bentley (£100k) and Diego Costa (free).

Goncalo Guedes is just one of multiple Wolves signings who have failed to live up to their huge price tags.Goncalo Guedes is just one of multiple Wolves signings who have failed to live up to their huge price tags.
Goncalo Guedes is just one of multiple Wolves signings who have failed to live up to their huge price tags. | Getty Images

A total of £53.7 million was raised by selling Morgan Gibbs-White (£25m), Leander Dendoncker (£13m), Ruben Vinagre (£8.6m), Leonardo Campana (£2.3m), Willy Boly (£2.2m), Sang-bin Jeong (£2.1m), Connor Ronan (£500k), Romain Saiss (free), Marcal (free), John Ruddy (free) and Leo Bonatini (free).

This led to a net transfer loss of £81.1 million.

2021/22 net spend

A total of £44.8 million was spent on signing Hwang Hee-chan (£14m), Rayan Ait-Nouri (£9.8m), Jose Sa (£6.3m), Trincao (£5m loan), Yerson Mosquera (£4.5m), Chiquinho (£3m), Bendeguz Bolla (£1.7m), Hayao Kawabe (£500k) and Louie Moulden (free).

A total of £27 million was raised by selling Rafa Mir (£13.7m), Rui Patricio (£9.8m) and Owen Otasowie (£3.5m).

This led to a net transfer loss of £17.8 million.

Total net spend for last three seasons

Combining all three seasons makes for poor reading as Wolves have recorded a loss of £69.9 million on transfers alone.

All figures courtesy of Soccerbase and Transfermarkt.

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