London - Wolves' return to the Premier League after a
six-year absence was confirmed on Saturday after Fulham's 1-1 draw with
Brentford gave Nuno Espirito Santo's men an unassailable 10-point lead over the
Londoners with just three games of the season remaining.
Bought over by Chinese group Fosun International in 2016,
Wolves' return to England's lucrative top flight has been bankrolled by huge
investment and links to Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes.
Portugal international Ruben Neves, signed for a
Championship record 15.8 million from Porto in July, was one of a number of
Portuguese players recruited in the summer and that investment has told on the
field as the Midlands side have streaked away from the chasing pack.
Neves produced one of the moments of the season in midweek
with a sensational 30-yard wonder strike to see off Derby 2-0.
Victory over Birmingham on Sunday will also take Wolves to
within a point of sealing the Championship title ahead of Cardiff City.
However, Wolves' big spending has provoked complaints for
other sides in the league.
"Congratulations to the best team but hope the league
can be fair and equal to all 24 teams," protested Leeds owner Andrea
Radrizzani after his side were beaten 3-0 by Wolves last month.
"Not legal and fair [to] let one team owned by a fund
who has shares in the biggest players' agency with evident benefits (top
European clubs giving players with options to buy... why the other 23 teams
can't have the same treatment?)."
Mendes is the founder of the Gestifute agency which
represents a host of international stars, including Cristiano Ronaldo.
On the field Wolves have proved unstoppable as they amassed
a huge lead at the top of the table on the back of losing just three of their
opening 27 games of the campaign.
And despite a mid-winter blip, Wolves have finished as
strongly as they began with 16 points from their last possible 18 securing
Cardiff's hopes of joining them in the Premier League next
season were also boosted by Brentford's dramatic 94th minute equaliser to hold
Fulham at Craven Cottage.
The Welsh side lead Fulham by a point and have a game in
hand after scoring twice themselves in the final four minutes to win 2-0 at
Aston Villa's 1-0 win over Leeds on Friday also kept them in
the battle for automatic promotion, three points behind Fulham.
Middlesbrough were the big winners in the battle for playoff
places behind the top four on Saturday as they edged past Bristol City 2-1.
Millwall extended their 17-game unbeaten league run with a
1-1 draw at Sheffield United to remain in the final playoff place.
However, Derby's playoff push suffered another setback when
they were beaten 3-1 at relegation threatened Burton.
That win moved second bottom Burton to within five points
But Sunderland look set for back-to-back relegations after a
2-2 draw at Reading left them rock bottom and still six points adrift of