'Perhaps opponents will start to find it harder to crack Wolves' code'


Dave Edwards brought great energy to the Wolves midfield for a decade and still watches the club intently, so his opinion on the players doing his old job is well worth our attention.

He makes a good point when he notes in the Express and Star this week that his "criticism of Wolves in the past is they have had a lot of similar players. Even Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves – two of the best players to play for the club in the modern era – are two similar and very technical players".

There's something in that. Wolves have had a lot of high-quality footballers in recent years, and you can’t get far in the Premier League without plenty of players with great technique. What they didn’t always have was a spark, some variety, something unpredictable. Diogo Jota gave them that sharp edge for a while, and occasionally Adama Traore created not just unpredictability, but chaos. Too often in recent seasons though, Wolves could be tidy but uninspiring. The old gold faded to beige.

Most of the big stories around Wolves in the last few months have been about players leaving, but this weekend we can focus on those who have arrived. Four players joined the squad in deadline week, and Wolves fans will hope to see them all for the first time at some stage against Liverpool.

The one that most intrigues me at this stage is Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, pursued right up to the close of business on 1 September. A slow burner by modern standards - although the French top-flight is hardly hiding away - he has been pedalling hard in the Strasbourg midfield for four years, and for Lens in the second tier for a couple of years before that.

The basic facts of his career record do not mark him out as an obvious target for an eight-figure fee, but I am swayed by Edwards’ scouting report: "very different to what Wolves have in the squad… raw pace and ability to shift the ball and move quickly… he will run beyond the forward line and into the channels… Wolves have not had a player of his mould for a while". On that very specific feature, Edwards would know.

With the promising Tommy Doyle also added to the group, Gary O’Neil’s midfield options have suddenly multiplied – not just adding two more players, but many potential combinations. Perhaps opponents will start to find it harder to crack their code.

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