It’s that time again.  The transfer window is open, prompting immeasurable column inches and reams of digital airspace of speculation, of who’s leaving who, who wants to go where, and who is being pushed out of the door.

Sky Sports’ yellow ticker will be cranking into overload, the word ‘announce’ will be hurled relentlessly at club social media accounts, and ever new and creative ways of heralding new arrivals will be concocted by skilled press departments.

Fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

And, when the dust has settled, and the squad numbers have been announced, some of the signings will go on to become roaring successes.  Some just won’t work, and some will just be a bit ‘meh’.

That will be the same at every club and Wolves, like all, have had good windows, bad windows and indifferent windows.

However, there have been few like that which unfolded – in a few short weeks – in the summer of 2016. 

With Fosun having completed their takeover of the club a week before the end of July, and then seen intended new manager Julen Lopetegui – wonder whatever became of him? – take the opportunity of becoming coach of Spain rather than Wolves, boss Walter Zenga arrived on the day of the final pre-season friendly against Swansea, with only a month remaining of the window.

Over those few weeks, having already bought in goalkeeper Andy Lonergan, Wolves collected a further 12 new faces.  A new recruitment dynamic was added to the mix with the existing Molineux hierarchy having to quickly adapt and not necessarily follow the procedures and methodology they had become accustomed to.  It was like a footballing version of Supermarket Sweep, a mad dash to assemble and revamp a Wolves squad which was to prove as cosmopolitan as it was difficult to produce any sort of rhythm and consistency.

And yes, some worked well, others didn’t, and some were a bit ‘meh’.  

It was into that slightly chaotic environment that amiable Dutch striker Paul Gladon checked in.  

Then 24, the 6ft 6in frontman had made an impressive start to the season with Heracles Almelo in the Eredivisie – the top division in the Netherlands – having just stepped up to be the main man up front following the departure of Wout Weghorst to AZ Alkmaar.

“I had made a really good start to that season, scoring a couple of goals in three league games, and, when Wolves came in, I wasn’t sure what to do,” Gladon recalls.

“I remember speaking with the owners and Kevin Thelwell (then Head of Development & Recruitment), and in the beginning I said no, I thought it might be too soon.

“They asked me to come over, and just have a look at the stadium and the training ground, so I visited Molineux and Compton Park.

“That was what made it different for me, I fell a little bit in love with Wolves when I saw all of that.

“I spoke with my father and brother and they said I had to do it, to take the chance and see how it goes.

“I spoke with the manager Walter Zenga as well, and he said he wanted me, so it all gave me a good feeling and I decided to say yes.”

Gladon made the move for around £1million and put pen to paper on a three-year contract.

And while, as he will explain, the move didn’t quite go entirely to plan, and he might be remembered more by Wolves fans for social media pictures of him in local restaurants, in essence, it could so easily have played out as Gladon’s next step on the career ladder.

The chance to ply his trade with a big club aiming to be upwardly mobile from the Championship would have been seen as progress from a career which had been equally progressive since joining his first professional club – later than most in the Netherlands – with Sparta Rotterdam at the age of 17.

Growing up playing at his local club SV Hoofddorp, at one point in junior football he scored 102 goals in a season, including 14 in one match.

Having been signed by Sparta, Gladon excelled at Under-19 level up against contemporaries such as Memphis Depay and Jurgen Locadia, but, after notching 14 goals in the first half of the season, was promoted to the first team set-up.

That was to prove something of a bitter-sweet development as, with Sparta pushing for promotion, opportunities for younger players were limited and Gladon was not given a sustained chance to build on the prolific form displayed at youth level.

“If I had been able to wait and carry on scoring goals for the Under 19s it might have been better but when a chance comes up for first team football you have to try and take it,” he recalls.

Things were moving quickly, and, as he continued to adapt to senior football, part of that process saw him spend the 2013/14 season on loan with Dordrecht, a smaller club than Sparta, but also occupying the Dutch second division.

It was a loan which would finish in very tricky circumstances!

Gladon notched 20 goals during the season, including a 19-minute hat trick against  Volendam, but the only problem was, one of those goals came against his parent club Sparta – in the second leg of the promotion play-off final!

And Dordrecht – with the second lowest budget in the division – prevailed over two legs to make it back to the Eredivisie after a 19-year absence, but Gladon became public enemy number one upon his return to Sparta.

“I know there are rules in England where you can’t play against your team if you are on loan, but that wasn’t the case here,” he said.

“It was crazy!

“I know I was only on loan but we had a great season and so I wanted to win that final and then see what happened.

“But when I went back to Sparta the following season, the relationship with the supporters was not good anymore and even the reporters were shouting to me, calling me names and asking what I was doing back there.

“I still managed to score a few goals, but I remember going to see the technical director Lee Beenhakker at the end of the season when my contract was up.

“I will never forget, he called me to his office and said, ‘shall we smoke cigars and speak about everything that has happened’!

“He was fun, and they wanted to offer me a contract but, even though I liked the club, and it’s a nice club, with the fans and what had gone on it just wasn’t going to work.”

Next stop was Heracles, and that first season, largely as understudy to Weghorst, but which finished with Gladon twice on target in the play-offs for European football as wins over two legs against Groningen and Utrecht took the team through.

With Weghorst departed, he had already scored in Europa League qualifying against Portuguese side Arouca, as well as twice in three Eredivisie games, before ultimately taking the plunge and heading to Wolves.

With his strength, ability to hold the ball up, and that decent scoring record in the Netherlands, there is a strong argument that Gladon could have been an asset to Wolves, certainly in the Championship.

He had also contacted former Wolves defender and cult hero John De Wolf, previously his assistant manager at Sparta, who had also given the club a glowing recommendation.

What didn’t help, both for Gladon and all the other new faces that summer, was the general state of flux at Wolves at the time, and the need for transition.

New owners, a new manager, so many new players – it all made for an often difficult and sometimes chaotic situation.

Alongside Gladon, the new arrivals comprised Lonergan, fans’ favourite Stearman – returning from Fulham on a season’s loan – Helder Costa, Silvio, Joao Teixeira, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Prince Oniangue, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Ola John, Romain Saiss, Ivan Cavaleiro and young keeper Jack Ruddy.

From that list only Saiss, Costa and Cavaleiro made a sustained contribution into the following season, when Fosun, now with their feet firmly under the table, appointed Nuno Espirito Santo as head coach, and Wolves stormed to the Championship title.

“There were so many new players, and, like you say, a little bit of chaos around the club at the time,” Gladon admits.

“Walter Zenga was good, he gave me confidence and put me straight into the team just after I arrived.

“But maybe, when I look back now, it was all a bit too soon.

“So much was different, my first time in a new country, my first time with a new language.

“The football was also so different to Holland with it being more physical, a quicker tempo.

“I was living on my own as well, which was hard, and it’s maybe one of those where had I been there for pre-season and had time to get to know the level and the players, it could have worked out.

“I think the fans never got to know me either, the team were not in a good flow and it was hard for me to come in and quickly adapt to make a difference to that level.”

Gladon’s debut came in a 1-1 draw at home to Burton Albion, during which an elbow from Kyle McFadzean gave me an early introduction into English football. It wasn’t even given as a foul, but McFadzean was retrospectively found guilty of violent conduct and banned for three matches.

He also played the 90 minutes of the EFL Cup defeat against Newcastle at St James’ Park, and came off the bench for a league defeat at Wigan, but a few weeks later Zenga was gone, and Paul Lambert had taken over.

With the club drifting towards turmoil, Lambert told Gladon that he wasn’t quite up to what he needed to stabilise Wolves in the Championship, and effectively he became surplus to requirements.

Gladon returned to Heracles on loan, before another temporary stay with St Truiden in Belgium, then leaving Wolves by mutual consent at the start of 2019, since when he has played for FC Groningen, Willem II and, his current home, Fortuna Sittard.

It may only have been for a short time, but Gladon enjoyed the dressing room and feels he had settled well off the pitch.

“I remember Conor Coady and Kortney Hause liked the way I spoke English,” he recalls with a chuckle.

Off the pitch too, his visits to local restaurants, particularly to Shifnal Balti, ended up causing a good-natured stir on social media with supporters, especially by the well-known Wolves Fancast, who had their very own ‘Gladon’s Guys’ feature.

Another chuckle. “I have seen all of this,” the man himself replies to a question about his culinary preferences whilst at Molineux.

“I was living on my own at the time so sometimes I would go out for food – I mean, I had to eat! 

“I was living in Shifnal and there was a really nice balti restaurant about five minutes from my house.

“I think the restaurant tagged me on social media and the fans were saying: ‘What is this – how is he going out for dinner when he is not playing’?!

“It all took off from there and maybe with hindsight it didn’t all have to go on social media, but I liked being in Wolverhampton and did settle well off the pitch.

“There was also Birmingham nearby and lots to do when my friends and girlfriend came over to see me.

“It was just on the pitch it didn’t work out and, as time went on and I wasn’t part of the team, that is when it became more difficult.”

Gladon is a good sport.  And one who has no problem in accepting the move to Molineux didn’t develop as anyone would have liked.  He still speaks fondly of Wolves nevertheless, and puts it down as an experience which he learned from as he continued his career.

He has just come off the back of a more than decent season with Fortuna in which, despite a battle for places with legendary Turkish frontman Burak Yilmaz, he still played plenty of minutes and chipped in with plenty of goals.

One of those came against Ajax in early season, and another, a spectacular overhead kick at PSV Eindhoven, for whom Fabio Silva came on as a substitute.

At 31, and for the style of striker that he is, Gladon feels he is now in the strongest time of his career and, while under contract and happy at Fortuna, he still harbours the ambition of playing abroad again before hanging up his boots.

Family life is good too.  He and wife Gionara have two boys, Dani, aged 3, and Chez, born four months ago, and Dani even has a Wolves mini-kit, bringing an enduring memory to a short but still illuminating spell of Dad’s career!

And, when asked if he feels he could have done anything differently, the response indicates it is more the timing of the move rather than what actually happened that ultimately proved the challenge.

“When I look back now, I still can’t say I regret the decision that I made,” he explains.

“Wolves are a very nice club, and it was just a difficult situation for everybody at that time.

“With hindsight, it was probably too soon for me to move, and I could have stayed at Heracles and scored some more goals and become more experienced.

“Because I think a few years later I would have been older, better, stronger, mentally as well, and had more confidence.

“But even with all that, when the chance comes to join a club like Wolves, you have to take that chance, it was such a good opportunity.

“I have played for a lot of clubs, and sometimes you feel good and everything works out for you, and sometimes you go to a club and it’s not like this at all!

“Yes, I only played a few games, and would love for it to have gone differently, but I still think of Wolves as a good time and feel very proud to have played for the club.”