Rui Patricio has surprised the footballing world today by joining the recently promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers on a free transfer from Portuguese giants Sporting, the club confirmed on their official website.
Patricio has been capped 70 times by Portugal and is currently in Russia for the World Cup this summer. He was part of the team that won the European Championship in France two years ago and has been a regular for his country since 2011.
The 30-year-old is one of seven Sporting players – including fellow countrymen William Carvalho, Gelson Martins and Bruno Fernandes – to cancel his contract over safety concerns, following a training ground invasion from aggressive fans, after the club missed out on Champions League qualification.
And he becomes the club’s fifth signing of the summer after Diogo Jota, Willy Boly, Benik Afobe and Raul Jiminez, and will likely slot straight into the first team as the regular shot-stopper for the foreseeable future.
Wolves fans are understandably jubilant with the news, with many taking to Twitter to express their excitement.
Here’s the reaction:
What a signing ?
— José (@MourinhoMindset) June 18, 2018
What a statement signing….patricio will have bought into the ambitions of the club….make no mistake, any players that leave our club, will be replaced with a far better alternative ….trust in nuno #wwfc
— Phil Owen (@flowin74) June 18, 2018
Rui Patricio, Portugals number one goalkeeper, Euro 2016 Winner and Ballon d’Or nominee is going to be living in Wolverhampton. Let that sink in ??? #wwfc
— Kateeee (@kate_1702_) June 18, 2018
The first of many top signings I think what a time to be a Wolves fan! #WWFC
— Matt Elcock (@Matty_elcock) June 18, 2018
— Ally Corfield (@cork1973) June 18, 2018
We’ll sign who we like, we’ll sign who we like! We’re Wolverhampton we’ll sign who we like!! Welcome to the pack Rui! #wwfc
— Julie Renshaw (@falmouth_wolf) June 18, 2018
Waking up when John Ruddy is your keeper, going to bed when Rui Patricio is. Wolves that. #wwfc
— Ben Husband (@BenHusband) June 18, 2018
The veteran keeper – represented by Jorge Mendes – has played 56 times for Sporting last season, and conceded just 48 goals in what was another impressive season. In total, Patricio has amassed 460 appearances in all competitions, including 26 appearances in the Champions League.
Patricio made his debut for the national team back in 2010, aged just 22. And to this day he remains the number one choice, having played in his countries thrilling 3-3 draw against Spain at the weekend.
He now joins 31-year-old John Ruddy and 24-year-old Will Norris at the Molineux Stadium. Last season’s third-choice option Harry Burgoyne joined League One side Plymouth Argyle on loan for next season.
Niall Ennis faces massive fight for Wolves future despite international pedigree
The 19-year-old is currently in Finland with the England under-19 squad.
England’s under-19s are in action this summer, taking part in the European Championships in Finland. Plenty of talented youngsters from across different clubs and leagues are taking part for England – including one Wolverhampton Wanderers talent.
The player in question is 19-year-old forward, Niall Ennis.
The England youth star is from Wolverhampton and is one of the star players in the club’s development system.
Last season, he was loaned out to Shrewsbury town for first-team experience. However, he suffered a bad knee injury in September and Wolves recalled him in December – after just two appearances.
It was a massive shame for the Wolves talent. But the faith the club have in him became clear when, upon his return, he was handed a new contract.
On his return from injury, he played six games in PL2 and scored twice, helping him make the England under-19 squad.
But given the current set-up at Wolves, does Ennis have a chance of first-team football?
With the financial clout of the Fosun Group and the connections afforded by super agent Jorge Mendes the amount of top players arriving at Molineux has been incredible.
When Wolves need a new player these days, they have the means to buy them, rather than rely on their youth academy.
Ennis will likely head out on loan again next season now he is fully fit. If he wants to make it at Wolves he will need to have a special campaign wherever he ends up.
If not, Wolves will simply sign someone else when his chance to break through emerges.
Wolves should swoop for Portuguese defensive star Jose Fonte
Fonte looks set to return to the Premier League after less than a season in China.
Reports this week from Sky Sports claim Portuguese defender Jose Fonte is set for a return to the Premier League after having his contract torn up by his Chinese club Dalian Yifang,
Fonte is coming off an excellent World Cup campaign where he started all four matches for Portugal, partnering Pepe in the centre of defence. The centre-back was also a key member of the team that won Euro 2016, beating world champions France in the final.
An impressive international pedigree is not all the defender boasts, however. Fonte also has a wealth of top-flight experience, most notably captaining Southampton during their recent Premier League successes.
Although his most recent spell in the top flight with West Ham United ended poorly, Fonte’s time at the London Stadium was marred by injury problems.
At 34 years of age, the Portuguese international is an elder statesmen who is composed and extremely experienced, possessing the ability to read the game well and also pass on his knowledge to Wolves’ younger defenders.
Fonte would be available on a free transfer after the expiration of his contract in China, and it would be a steal to acquire the services of the defender for no transfer fee.
As Fonte showed in Russia, he is still capable of performing on the highest stage against the worlds best players, and could bring back his skills to the Premier League.
Wolves should snap up the Portuguese international on a free transfer and supplement their defence with a wise, battle-hardened centre-half.
Oleksandr Zinchenko will thrive if given first-team football at Wolves next season
Wolves are reportedly interested in bringing the talented youngster to Molineux.
Manchester City‘s talented youngster Oleksandr Zinchenko looks set to leave the Premier League champions this summer in search of first team football.
Zinchenko started only six times for Pep Guardiola’s record breaking side last season and showed glimpses of what he could achieve if given a sufficient amount of game time.
Wolves seem the perfect destination for Zinchenko at this stage in his career and the ambitious west Midlands club are showing no signs of fear going into the new Premier League season.
At 21 years of age, Zinchenko has already featured 16 times for his country; Ukraine and filled in for the absent Benjamin Mendy last season for City and proved he was more than capable of mixing it with the leagues best when needed.
The chance to play under the enigmatic Nuno Espírito Santo certainly puts Zinchenko in an environment to thrive, and the Ukrainian international will in no doubt take with him to Molineux what Pep Guardiola has taught him during his time at the Citizens.
“He is a talented player, so clear, so clean. The way he plays, his decisions are always perfect. As a young player, I hope in the future he will help us.”
– Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, speaking about Oleksandr Zinchenko last season.
Given the opportunity to play week in, week out will only improve Zinchenko’s already undeniable talent, and his versatility to play anywhere in the midfield would be a real weapon for Wolves to have at their disposal.
Zinchenko is undoubtedly a coaches dream, with a high footballing IQ and never ending relentless energy he could become a valuable member of Wolves’ set up for the 2018/19 Premier League season.