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Francisco Trincao will hope to make a big impact in the Premier League in 2021-22
Francisco Trincao will hope to make a big impact in the Premier League in 2021-22

Francisco Trincao's arrival at Wolves raised plenty of eyebrows earlier this month.

The 21-year-old, who had a staggering £420million release clause inserted in his contract when Barcelona snapped him up last year, could see his season-long loan become a permanent deal if he impresses at Molineux. 

With a host of his fellow countrymen already in the squad, settling at his new club should not prove too difficult for the Portuguese ace.

But will the Premier League get to see the best of him?

Humble beginnings

Born in the north of Portugal, Trincao started out at his hometown club of Vianense before quickly catching the eye of some of the nation’s top scouts.

At the age of 10 he spent a year in Porto's youth ranks but the club opted not to take him on.

It was Braga, the second Primeira Liga side to offer Trincao a chance, where he would spend his formative years.

Francisco Trincao received plaudits for his exploits with Portugal in youth football
Francisco Trincao received plaudits for his exploits with Portugal in youth football

Gaining plenty of admirers while rising through his club’s youth ranks, a starring role in the 2018 Under-19 European Championship — where he notched five goals — was his breakthrough moment.

Shortly after that tournament, he was knocking on the door of Braga’s first team and by January 2020, Barcelona had seen enough to make their move.

Tough times in Catalonia

Signing for £25.5m in a deal that kicked in on July 1, 2020, it was thought Trincao may be able to force his way into Barca’s youthful XI as a regular starter last term.

But despite featuring in 28 LaLiga games in 2020-21, only three of those were starts.

Financial issues at the Camp Nou and the desire to tie Lionel Messi to a new contract have triggered a clearout of fringe players this summer — with Trincao one of those to fall victim.

One of his former coaches, ex-Braga academy head Jose Carvalho Araujo, recently told Sky Sports he was always sceptical over Trincao's big-money move to Barca.

He said: "It was the first challenge he had outside of his comfort zone and I do not think it was the best moment to be joining Barcelona as a young player. 

Most of Francisco Trincao's opportunities at Barcelona came via late cameos off the bench
Most of Francisco Trincao's opportunities at Barcelona came via late cameos off the bench

"It was a transition stage for the club with all the troubles they had with Messi and the board.

"I do not know Ronald Koeman but he did not seem like a guy who would develop young talent."

Point to prove

Trincao's latest switch, which could become permanent for £25m next summer, is quite a coup for Wolves. 

Technical director Scott Sellars said: "We've watched him a lot, especially over the last couple of months, so he's been on our radar for quite a while.

"He's got loads of quality — signing for Barcelona from Braga shows what potential he's got. 

"At only 21, he has played quite a lot of games in LaLiga, so we think he's ready for the Premier League."

While Barcelona were quick to point out his potential to contribute goals and assists, Sellars suggests Wolves have been more impressed by his dynamism.

He added: "He's a player who drifts past people and he has a great change of direction when he's moving with the ball. 

"He has great speed over two or three yards to change direction and get away from people, can score and create, and is an exciting player."

Verdict

A move to Wolves gives Francisco Trincao the chance of a fresh start
A move to Wolves gives Francisco Trincao the chance of a fresh start

It has been a whirlwind two years for the Portuguese star, who has endured much upheaval in a short space of time.

Moving to a club where he has familiar faces — including childhood friend Pedro Neto — and a coach who nurtures young talent in Bruno Lage, Trincao could finally start to feel at home in the West Midlands.

Araujo certainly thinks so.

He said: "Knowing Lage, he understands how to motivate young players and give them the tools to improve.

"Trincao will be more mature for his experience at Barcelona and will also know some of the players at Wolves. It is more of a family environment for him."

If he is given a run of games and afforded some patience, the acquisition of Trincao may well turn out to be a masterstroke.

And with Wolves continuing their pre-season preparations against Real Betis on Saturday after losing 1-0 to Crewe last weekend, Lage will be keen to get Trincao up to speed as quickly as possible. 

Francisco Trincao facts and stats

Age: 21

Nationality: Portuguese

Position: Right wing

Former clubs: Barcelona (42 apps, three goals), Braga (48 apps, nine goals).

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Wolverhampton WanderersPremier LeagueBarcelona
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23:52 (+00:00)4 Aug 2021 (Wed)