Wolverhampton Wanderers’ first high-profile arrival this summer was the loan signing of Barcelona player, Francisco Trincao, with the option to buy.
After breaking through at Portuguese club S.C. Braga, Trincao joined Barcelona in 2020. Understandably, becoming a regular starter at Barca was always going to be a big ask, yet he still established himself as a first-team squad member. Trincao finished the season with 28 appearances and three goals in the league.
One question mark that has slightly overshadowed the player’s arrival is his perceived similarity to Wolves’ player of the season last campaign, Pedro Neto..
From the outset, it is easy to see why Neto and Trincao are so comparable to one another. For starters, both players are 21 years old, Portuguese, and wingers who like to play off the right side cutting in on their preferred left-foot.
Moreover, both players have an eye for a shot from distance in particular. FBref has recorded that both players tend to record roughly 2-3 shots per game with an average shooting distance of over 15 yards.
This common urge to shoot from distance may be a product of their adolescence, a period when their paths often crossed, which Neto has discussed in depth following Trincao’s arrival.
The two were born in Viana do Castelo, in the North-West of Portugal on the Spanish border. They first met playing for local side Vianense before being reunited at the Braga academy through different routes.
Establishing themselves as youth internationals for the Under 17 side, Neto experienced only a handful of games at Braga before joining Lazio on a two-year loan prior to moving to Wolves. As for Trincao, he flourished under current Sporting Lisbon boss, Ruben Amorim, before signing for Barcelona in January 2020.Embed from Getty Images
Since their Braga debuts, they have both worked their way through the international youth ranks to become full internationals.
Firstly, a big difference between the two players is their versatility, a department where Neto has excelled more to this date.
Out of his 31 appearances last season, WhoScored’s positional data shows that the Wolves number seven played 13 games on the left, 10 in the centre and only seven on the right.
Despite the latter appearing to be his favoured side, Neto has often frequented other positions to accommodate Adama Traore.
In Trincao’s case, he only recorded seven appearances with enough minutes to gather the same type of data from WhoScored. All of these appearances were from the right side of Barcelona’s midfield or attack.
New head coach Bruno Lage will also want to improve Trincao’s effectiveness off the ball. Last season, Neto recorded at least twice as many blocks and interceptions per 90 minutes than his compatriot.
It will be interesting to see how these two players develop together as first-team regular teammates for the first time. What is clear is that they have great respect for each other and an even deeper understanding.
It should make for more exciting times on the Wolves wings.