Portugal picked up a 1-0 win against Morocco this afternoon, helping them in their bid to qualify for the next round of the World Cup. The result sends Morocco out of the competition but it was, on the balance of play, not a fair result. Morocco were excellent throughout the game but could not find the back of the net.
Some of that was down to an ineptitude in the attacking third but Morocco also found themselves up against a goalkeeper in brilliant form. That goalkeeper will be playing in the Premier League next season with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves recently snapped up the signature of Rui Patricio from Sporting Lisbon. In a controversial deal, which saw Patricio resign from the Portuguese club, Wolves finally brought the much-sought-after stopper to English football.
Based on the evidence displayed against Morocco, Wolves have signed a star.
Patricio made an exceptional save to keep Morocco at bay, which certainly had shades of Gordon Banks’ brilliant save from Pele in 1970.
Wolves fans are therefore overjoyed with the new arrival and could not contain their excitement on Twitter…
— Sophie Jayne (@sophie_jayne24) June 20, 2018
Patricio has the flexibility of Mr Fantastic.
Pass it on.
— Wolves Fancast (@WWFCFancast) June 20, 2018
Always find it difficult to judge keepers at times but Patricio did everything he needed. Made one good save, but one I would still expect him to make. Overarching theme is how unruffled he looks all the time. #PORMAR #WWFC
— Musings from Molineux (@molineuxmusings) June 20, 2018
Fans: Just let it sink in we have this guy as our keeper next year…
Me: I cant
— Rob (@RA_04NKS) June 20, 2018
Clean sheet for Wolves new boy Rui Patricio and a very tidy performance. Included a superb save which some are comparing to Gordon Banks against Pele ? Maybe they’ll make a statue of that one back in Portugal as well… #wwfc pic.twitter.com/nHSRcFQ8f2
— Tim Spiers (@tim_spiers_Star) June 20, 2018
@GaryLineker What a coup Rui Patricio is for the Wolves, Gary. He will save us no end of points next season!
— Mark Bromley (@bromWWFC) June 20, 2018
Signing Rui Patricio on a free might have kept #WWFC up next season already tbh
— Tom Nightingale (@tdnightingale) June 20, 2018
After that Patricio save! I just pinched myself and it hurt!
Not dreaming. ?? #wwfc
— mary smith (@smithers40fa) June 20, 2018
— Iain Q. Blank COME ON ENGLAND ???????? (@iainqblank) June 20, 2018
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.