Wolves boss Bruno Lage has admitted he did not want to sell Leander Dendoncker to Aston Villa on deadline day.
Belgium international Dendoncker left Molineux for a reported £13million fee in the final hours of the transfer window on Thursday.
The 27-year-old midfielder made nearly 160 appearances in his four years at Wolves, being a key part of the club’s progression under first Nuno Espirito Santo and then Lage.
“I will not change anything about Leander,” Lage said ahead of Southampton’s Premier League trip to Molineux.
“He was so important for the club and me last year and it was a big pleasure working with him.
“He comes with a proposal and thinks it was the right time to move. As a coach, I have to understand what’s best for the player and the club.
“If you give me the choice he stays, because he’s an important player for me. But in the end we need to understand what is best for the player and also the club.”
Wolves agreed a season-long loan with Boubacar Traore from Metz to plug the midfield gap left by Dendoncker’s departure.
Lage could add to his defensive numbers after the transfer window with reports linking Wolves to former Manchester City and Celtic defender Jason Denayer, who is a free agent.
“Let’s see what happens in the next days,” Lage said. “I know Denayer very well, I played against him in the Champions League.
“You are talking about a player who can play in the Champions League and for his national team.
“We’re very happy with our centre-backs, but there’s a gap between the two who are playing and the two who are not playing at the moment.
“If we have a chance to bring in one experienced player that would be better, because they could be very important for the club in the future.”
Austria international Sasa Kalajdzic will be in the matchday squad against Southampton after signing from Stuttgart in midweek.
Lage has welcomed the arrival of the 6ft 7in striker as Wolves seek to claim a first league win of the season.
He said: “When everyone was worried about the squad, I told the fans to have patience.
“It has happened in the last two weeks. We brought top players to rebuild the team.
“The fans had patience to rebuild the squad. Now they need patience for them to adapt to a new club and the intensity of the Premier League.”
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