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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Ruben Vinagre would be one loser from Wolves’ Oleksandr Zinchenko deal

The Portuguese youngster only joined on a permanent deal at the end of June.

Mathew Nash



Wolverhampton Wanderers are looking to bring in a new face or two before their season in the Premier League begins. One of those players is Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko.

The Ukrainian is highly rated at City but will likely continue to struggle in his pursuit of first-team football at The Etihad.

As reported by The Mirror the club have agreed a £16 million fee for the left-sided star who played six times in the Premier League last season.

Originally an attacking midfielder he has been transformed into a left wing-back under Pep Guardiola.

Wolves, who have played with wing-backs under current boss Nuno Espirito Santo, are therefore right to be targeting him.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

But would his arrival mean a departure, at least on loan, for a player who only recently signed on at the club?

Ruben Vinagre spent last season on loan at Wolves from AS Monaco. One of the Jorge Mendes recruits, he struggled for regular first-team football at Molineux. Despite only playing nine Championship games for the club, his age meant Wolves still considered him worth buying permanently.

That they did. At the end of June, the 19-year-old signed a five-year permanent deal at Wolves for an undisclosed fee.

Were Zinchenko to arrive it would mean he and Barry Douglas were in competition for the same position, leaving Vinagre somewhere out in the cold.

With that in mind a loan deal will surely be the next logical step should Wolves secure a deal for Zinchenko.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wolves newbie Rui Patricio is great, but not worth £50m

Wolverhampton Wanderers have an excellent goalkeeper who was signed under cloudy circumstances.

Mathew Nash



Wolverhampton Wanderers pulled off an absolute coup earlier this summer, by securing the services of Rui Patricio. The Portugal international stopper joined in one of the more controversial transfers of the summer so far.

The 30-year-old ended his lengthy association with Sporting Lisbon this summer. He cancelled his contract, along with several other players, after being threatened by fans at the training complex.

Wolves were already keen on the player and swiftly swooped.

(Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Sporting are now looking to get some money back on the deal. As reported by the BBC, they want £50 million in compensation for the player.

So the question is, is he worth that much?

The answer is, effectively, quite simple. Would Wolves have paid that much for him? The answer is probably no.

Patricio is an excellent stopper and for some is probably among the 10-15 best keepers in the world.

But he has never played away from Sporting and, as always with one club men, there is the danger he will not thrive elsewhere.

Undoubtedly he would have been an expensive acquisition and Wolves will hope nothing comes of this, as they have nabbed a bargain.

But £50 million? That seems a tad ambitious from the Portuguese side.

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Stoke City

Why Benik Afobe is the perfect man to fire Stoke City to promotion

The 25-year-old joined Gary Rowett’s side in June.

Martyn Cooke



Photo: Getty Images

Stoke City’s decade-long stay in the Premier League was brought to an abrupt end in May as The Potters were relegated to the Championship following what had been, in all honesty, a desperately disappointing and chaotic campaign.

Relegation occurred due to a culmination of different reasons including poor managerial decisions, a string of high-profile failures in the transfer market and a general feeling of stagnation and complacency throughout the club.

On the pitch, Stoke’s issues were underpinned by a lack of creativity in the final third and a critical inability to hit the back of the net.

They mustered only 35 goals throughout the Premier League campaign, averaging at less than a goal per game, whilst Xherdan Shaqiri ended the season as the club’s top goal scorer with his eight strikes.

The Potters simply did not possess a striker capable of plundering the goals required to help them to claw their way to safety.

Peter Crouch, now 37 years of age, was largely ineffective whilst Mame Biram Diouf, despite possessing an admirable work ethic, was inconsistent in front of goal and was inefficient when it came to finishing chances.

The less said about Saido Berahino, who last scored in a competitive game over two years ago, the better whilst too much was expected too soon of academy youngster Tyrese Cambell.

However, it appears that Gary Rowett has no intention of making the same mistakes that his predecessors did when it comes to building an effective strike force.

The former Derby County manager was appointed at the start of the summer and has wasted little time in looking to resolve some of Stoke’s long-standing issues.

Last season The Rams were among the highest scorers in the Championship and it can safely be assumed that Rowett intends to replicate that feat at the Bet365 Stadium for the forthcoming campaign.

The arrival of Benik Afobe is a significant statement of intent.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The 25-year-old striker was signed on loan in mid-June from Wolverhampton Wanders, just eleven days after he had made a permanent switch to Molineux from Bournemouth.

Whilst the logistics of the move, undoubtedly relating to Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, may be somewhat unorthodox, the message that Afobe’s arrival sends certainly is not.

The striker is a proven goal scorer in The Championship and he is being earmarked by Rowett as the antidote to Stoke’s woes front of goal.

Afobe scored six goals in seven starts for Wolves during the second half of last season as he helped the club to secure promotion to the Premier League whilst his first spell at Molineux saw him score 22 goals in 46 games.

Prior to that, he was equally as prolific with MK Dons.

However, doubters will point towards his somewhat disappointing spell at Bournemouth where he found the net just 11 times in two years.

In truth, the striker never really cemented his place in the team whilst the arrival of Jermain Defoe last summer effectively all but ended his career on the south coast.

What cannot be doubted is the fact that Afobe is a proven goal scorer in the Championship and that, at the age of 25, he is at his peak.

Regular game time for Stoke in the second tier of English football is likely to see the forward find the goal trail once more and that can only be a good thing for The Potters.

Afobe is very much the complete all-round modern striker.

He possesses pace, power and strength combined with good technical ability and intelligent movement that makes him a constant threat for defenders.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

The 25-year-old plays off the last shoulder and he has a knack for being ruthlessly prolific in and around the eighteen-yard box – even half-chances are likely to find the back of the net if they drop in his direction.

If Rowett can mould a Stoke team that is creative in the final third and generates chances on a regular basis, then Afobe is the perfect focal point to apply the finishing touches.

In short, the 25-year-old is the key to solving the team’s inefficiency in front of goal.

If Stoke are to challenge for promotion in the forthcoming season, then Afobe’s contribution in the final third will be key to the club’s success.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Rodrigo links should spring Wolves into action for Spanish striker

The Spanish striker is linked to Jorge Mendes, who has helped Wolves win promotion to the top-flight.

Mathew Nash



Valencia forward Rodrigo is being linked with a move away from the club this week. It has been reported by Superdeporte that both Everton and Juventus are keen on the player and that Los Che could consider selling him at the right price this summer.

But if Rodrigo is looking like being available, surely Wolverhampton Wanderers should take notice.

The former Bolton Wanderers loanee is represented by super-agent Jorge Mendes. The Valencia attacker made his move to the Spanish club from Benfica under the guidance of Mendes, for a fee of €30 million (£26.5 million).

(Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Currently away with the Spanish national team, Rodrigo has just had an excellent season. The 27-year-old scored 19 goals in 44 games and his performances earned him a place in the Spanish World Cup squad.

Wolves would, therefore, seem like a step-down. But the Molineux side are on the up and have a strong link with Mendes, who has helped them sign some of their biggest talents.

Rodrigo, at 27, could still see Wolves as the perfect opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond and score goals at a regular rate.

If Wolves are going to do what they can to be a big player in the Premier League, then bringing in players of Rodrigo’s qualities is a must.

Using the Mendes link, in this case, would be a good piece of business for Wolves.

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