Friday 21 September 2018

Wolves’ Portuguese players preparing to take the Premier League by storm

A look at the increasing Iberian influence at Molineux.

Joao Moutinho is the latest Portuguese player to move to Wolves (Mike Egerton/PA)
Joao Moutinho is the latest Portuguese player to move to Wolves (Mike Egerton/PA)

By Press Association Sport staff

Newly-promoted Wolves could begin their Premier League campaign with as many Portugal internationals in their starting line-up as Portuguese champions Porto.

Manager Nuno Espirito Santo and agent Jorge Mendes are both Portuguese and this has been an obvious factor in the influx of players from that part of the world.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the growing Iberian army at the Black Country club.

Rui Patricio

The 30-year-old was his country’s number one at this summer’s World Cup and arguably represents Wolves’ biggest signing so far. Patricio has been capped 73 times by Portugal and made more than 450 appearances for Sporting Lisbon, whom he left at the end of last season after terminating his contract. He won Euro 2016 with Portugal.

Joao Moutinho

Another Euro 2016 winner, the 31-year-old midfielder’s £5million arrival from Monaco is another example of the Mendes factor. Moutinho’s signing is a strong statement by Wolves – a vastly experienced player who has won silverware at the highest level with Porto, Sporting and Monaco, as well as his country.

Ruben Neves

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Ruben Neves celebrates scoring a superb goal against Cardiff (Nigel French/PA)

A surprise omission from the Portugal squad in Russia after lighting up the Championship last season. The 21-year-old, a £15million arrival from Porto 12 months ago, has a penchant for scoring spectacular goals and recently committed his long-term future to Wolves by signing a new five-year contract.

Helder Costa

Originally signed on loan from Benfica, Costa was the trailblazer for Portuguese players making their way to Wolves. A dozen goals during his debut season in the Championship convinced the club to pay the £13million asking price to make his move to Molineux permanent. The winger was hampered by an ankle injury last season but the 24-year-old remains an important part of the squad.

Ivan Cavaleiro

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Ivan Cavaleiro celebrates scoring at Reading (Mark Kerton/PA)

The forward found his feet last season after a tricky debut campaign in England, following his £7million switch from Monaco. The 24-year-old is still a bit raw, but he is versatile and capable of playing up front. He chipped in with nine goals last season.

Diogo Jota

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Diogo Jota scored 18 goals last season (Nigel French/PA)

Originally signed on loan from Atletico Madrid before signing on a permanent deal this summer for a reported fee of around £12million. The 21-year-old was a huge factor in Wolves promotion last season, scoring 18 goals. Yet to be capped by Portugal, but a call-up could soon be on the cards.

Ruben Vinagre

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Ruben Vinagre during the Carabao Cup clash at Manchester City (Tim Goode/PA)

The teenager made just nine Championship appearances last season after signing from Monaco but he should feature more this campaign.

Roderick Miranda

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Roderick Miranda in action in the FA Cup last season (Nick Potts/PA)

The defender’s days at Molineux look numbered given he has been loaned out to Greek side Olympiacos. The 27-year-old joined Wolves from Rio Ave last year and the contract he signed runs until 2021.

Press Association

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