Premier League Preview: Brighton v Wolves

Midfielder Lallana missed Tuesday’s defeat to Arsenal due to a groin issue, while forward Welbeck was an unused substitute because of a knee problem.

Striker Aaron Connolly (groin) will also be assessed but full-back Tariq Lamptey (hamstring) and midfielder Steven Alzate (illness) remain sidelined.

Leander Dendoncker and Willy Boly remain doubts for the trip to the south coast.

The pair have missed the last three games, including the 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, after picking up injuries in Wolves’ win over Chelsea two weeks ago.

Raul Jimenez remains a long-term absentee after fracturing his skull in November while Jonny (knee) is still sidelined.

Kick off at the Amex is at 5.30 on Saturday.

Nuno Espirito Santo charged by FA over criticism of referee Lee Mason

The Portuguese was highly critical of the official after his side’s Premier League match against Burnley on December 21 where he said: “The referee does not have the quality to whistle a game in the Premier League.”

Santo has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3.

A statement from The FA said “It is alleged that comments made by the head coach during a post-match interview constitute improper conduct as they were personally offensive to the match official and/or bring the game into disrepute.”

Nuno has until January 5th to respond to the charge.

Wolves depleted for pre-season preparations

As is a customary during the regular season, international breaks coincide with a break in the domestic calendar, allowing for sides not to be disadvantaged by the absence of a large chunk of their squad.

However, due to the complications of the football calendar in recent times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest batch of international call-ups means that Nuno Espirito Santo will be particularly light when it comes to pre-season preparations for the upcoming Premier League campaign.

At least eight Wolves players have been selected for duty by their countries for the September internationals, with more expected to follow.

Wanderers are due to return to full training ahead of the new season next week, and several first-team stars will be away.

Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota – have all been called up for Portugal, with Ruben Vinagre and Pedro Neto named in the under-21 squad.

Matt Doherty is away with Ireland and Adama Traore with Spain to complete the eight.

With Wolves having a particularly long campaign last time around due to Europa League qualification, Nuno Espirito Santo will have been hoping for some more concrete time on the training ground ahead of this season – but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Wanderers start their Premier League campaign at Sheffield United on September 14.

Manchester United eyeing Wolves striker Raul Jimenez

The Mexico striker bagged 17 goals in the Premier League this season, matching the tally he notched last campaign at Molineux whilst on loan from Benfica.

Now reports claim that Jimenez, who signed a permanent contract at Wolves last summer for €30m, is now ‘on his way’ to Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is on the hunt for a striker, something which was embodied in the deadline day capture of Odion Ighalo on loan from a Chinese Super League side in January.

However, with the summer window now extended until October 5th due to the implications of Covid-19, that may allow Solskjaer to be more thorough in the capture of a proven top flight goalscorer.

29-year-old Jimenez is reported to be that man – that’s if you believe the Portuguese press, who are quite insistent that the Wolves man will pitch up at Old Trafford.

Newspaper A Bola and Portugal’s national broadcaster RTP have both suggested that there’s truth in a United swoop for Jimenez, with it being put down to the fact that Wolves have already lined up a replacement.

Nuno Espirito Santo is supposedly in line to bring in Braga striker Paulinho, who has plundered 25 goals and registered 9 assists in 48 games this season.

That is said to be a €30m switch, with Wolves triggering the 6’2” frontman’s release clause earlier this week.

Renowned football agent Jorge Mendes is thought to be the broker for the Paulinho deal.

Of course, this is all translated from Portuguese to English – but RTP are known to be a source who avoid typical speculation.

Released Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen on Wolves radar

That’s according to Italian publication Il Messaggero, who suggest the experienced Belgian defender is of interest to Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

33-year-old Vertonghen left Spurs this week after 8 years with the club, amassing 232 Premier League appearances in that time.

Spurs were locked in a race for the Europa League spots with Wolves this season, with Wanderers eventually securing seventh place.

A second consecutive Europa League campaign will no doubt take it’s toll on Wolves’ squad, and the addition of an experienced Vertonghen may not be the worst idea from Nuno Espirito Santo.