Bruno Lage insists the Premier League is very much a squad game

·3 min read

Wolves boss Bruno Lage maintains the Premier League is now very much a squad game as they look to move on following the departure of Morgan Gibbs-White and welcome new record signing Matheus Nunes.

Gibbs-White, 22, completed his move to Nottingham Forest on Friday, in a deal which could eventually be worth £40million to the Molineux club where the promising midfielder came through the youth ranks.

After being on loan at Sheffield United last season, Gibbs-White had started both of Wolves’ opening two Premier League games.

Lage is in no doubt Gibbs-White, who won the 2017 Under-17 World Cup with England, will go on to become one of the country’s brightest stars.

The Wolves boss, though, insists there now has to be plenty of depth to the squad with no-one guaranteed of an extended run in the side.

“What I want is competition in every position and build that squad where everyone dreams (to play),” Lage said.

“I don’t promise anyone that they will play. They are very important for me and after it is my decision.

“Players can play in 40 games, take 17 games from the start, they can jump from the bench to help the team and they can stay out (for) the same (number of games), so that is the balance of the team.

“I talk with everyone about this and every time I want to feel a good energy and a good vibration. They need to understand that is my way to work and I need to see that they are ready to go for it.”

Lage wished Gibbs-White all the best for the challenges ahead.

“I enjoyed to work with him, and I believe with us they (all) can be a top player,” the Wolves boss said.

“In the same way, I believe he will go to Nottingham to work with a coach who worked with him in Swansea (on loan) and the (England) national team.

“In one or two years, I believe he is going to be one of the best and can make a big impact in the Premier League.”

Wolves are understood to have agreed to pay Sporting an initial 45million euros (£38m) for Nunes.

The 23-year-old is expected to go straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Tottenham.

Former Benfica boss Lage is confident Nunes can make a smooth transition into the English top flight.

“He can be very important for us, especially with what he did for the past two years in Sporting,” Lage said.

“Not it is a different challenge – to come and to compete in the Premier League and it is so hard to play.

“I believe Nunes is the right player for us in this moment because he has the right profile for what we want from our midfielders.”

Wolves have been linked with further additions, with Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos a reported target.

Lage maintained there had as yet been no direct contact over Ramos, whom he had worked with as a youngster.

“Who doesn’t want to have these kind of players? But the most important thing is that we have our profile and we don’t just have one target, we have more targets for that position,” the Wolves boss said.

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte could be facing a touchline ban after squaring up to Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel following a fiery clash at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

Lage had his own set-to with Leeds boss Jesse Marsch during their opening Premier League match at Elland Road.

The Wolves boss revealed American Marsch had got in touch personally to help smooth things over.

“It is part of the emotion of the game”, Lage said. “Also me and Jesse in the first game, we exchanged some words.

“Just now when was checking my e-mail, I have a message from him. He did not have to send that, because for me, it is in the past, but it felt good (to receive it).

“When Leeds come here, I will be there on the touchline to shake his hand.”