Where are they now? Wolves’ final XI before the Fosun takeover


It’s fair to say a lot has changed at Wolves since the club was bought out by Fosun International Group in 2016.

In that time they have gone from the mid-table of the Championship to one of the best sides in the Premier League, with a team featuring an array of international stars managed by Nuno Espirito Santo.

To emphasise the transformation, we’ve taken a look at that final starting XI before the takeover, which came in a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in May 2016 to secure 14th place in the Championship.

Carl Ikeme

A Wolves hero, Ikeme was preparing for what turned out to be the club’s promotion season when he was devastatingly diagnosed with acute leukaemia in July 2017.

The goalkeeper heroically beat the disease but was forced to announce his retirement from the game 12 months on from his initial diagnosis.

Speaking to the BBC in September 2018, the former Nigeria international said: “I am not sure what the future holds. I am unemployed and just taking it day by day.

“I would love to go and learn from the Nigerian FA. Come to Wolves and learn a little bit from them. Maybe do a bit of media work.

“I am not anxious to jump into something because being with my family is my priority at the minute. I wake up every morning happy to be here.”

Dominic Iorfa

Once considered a hot prospect at Wolves, Iorfa was capped by England at Under-21 level but was sent out on loan to Ipswich Town as the Midlanders won promotion under Nuno.

The defender then joined Sheffield Wednesday in January 2019 and has since made more than 50 Championship appearances for the South Yorkshire side.

Danny Batth

In a similar scenario to Iorfa, Batth was a fan favourite at Molineux as a local lad who captained the club.

But the centre-back began to be phased out under Nuno and was loaned out to Middlesbrough for the first half of the current season before joining Stoke City on a permanent deal in January 2019.

He probably didn’t expect to be helping them fight relegation come the end of the following season, but that’s exactly that came to pass, with goals in successive games from Batth proving crucial in the run-in.

Kortney Hause

Another prospect who has featured prominently for Wolves and been capped by England at Under-21 level, Hause remains on the books at the club but is currently is on loan at Aston Villa, who have an option to make the move permanent.

Matt Doherty

One of only two players in this team who remain in Nuno’s starting XI, Doherty operated at left-back on that day against Sheffield Wednesday but is now considered one of the best attacking right wing-backs in the Premier League.

Jed Wallace

The win over Sheffield Wednesday was one of only 18 league appearances Wallace made for Wolves before the winger was sent on loan twice to Millwall, eventually joining the Londoners on a permanent deal.

Conor Coady

Alongside Doherty, the only other player to continue in Wolves’ starting XI today. However, while the former Liverpool man played in central midfield that day, he now captains the side as a defender in a back three.

Coady’s transformation comes as no surprise to his former Liverpool team-mate Jack Robinson, who told us in 2018: “He has settled at Wolves and he has got that structure behind him now.

“They know exactly what he does and what he brings to the team. He is a captain and a leader. He’s the talker of the team. He was always captain at every age group and England the same.”

READ: The 10 Liverpool academy graduates playing in Europe’s major leagues

Jack Price

An academy graduate, Price featured sporadically in the first half of Wolves’ promotion season before leaving for the sunnier climes of MLS outfit Colorado Rapids.

Rather brilliantly, upon crossing the Atlantic, the midfielder had to explain his nickname ‘the Shropshire Pirlo’, telling MLS’ official website: “They obviously see me as a bit of a Pirlo from Shropshire and I’m just happy to be in the same name as Pirlo, really.”

You don’t say.

George Saville

A product of Chelsea’s youth system – he never actually appeared for the Blues’ first team, naturally – Saville spent three seasons at Wolves and was a goalscorer in that game against Wednesday but missed out on winning promotion with the club after being sold to Millwall.

After just one season at The Den, the midfielder earned an £8million move to Middlesbrough.

James Henry

After helping Wolves win promotion from League One, Henry was a regular for two seasons in the Championship but returned to the third tier with a transfer to Oxford.

He almost helped them into the Championship, but a play-off final defeat to Wycombe put paid to that.

Joe Mason

We’re not saying Wolves’ attack has changed quite significantly, but between them, Henry and Mason mustered 25 goals in 146 appearances for the club.

Mason was one considered an exciting prospect at Cardiff City, memorably scoring against Liverpool in a League Cup final.

But his career stalled at Wolves as he was sent out on loan to Burton Albion, Colorado Rapids and Portsmouth.

He was released from his contract on the final day of the 2019 January transfer window in order to find a new club but had to wait until June, when he joined MK Dons.

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