Former Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Rui Patricio posted an emotional farewell message on Instagram to fans of the club following his move to AS Roma.

After three mightily impressive seasons with Wolves, Patricio has joined Portuguese compatriot Jose Mourinho in the Italian capital.

Leaving big boots to fill, the man who has been given this challenge is former Olympiakos goalkeeper Josa Sa, whose transfer to the Premier League side was confirmed yesterday.

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With it looking likely that he will take the number one shirt, vacated since Carl Ikeme’s retirement in 2018, it is worth looking at Sa’s capabilities ahead of his maiden season in England.

Who is Jose Sa?

A regular for Portugal’s youth sides, Sa had to bide his time before making his mark in his native country. The Portuguese goalkeeper only made his debut in August 2013 for Maritimo before slowly establishing himself as the club’s number one.

In 2016 he joined one of Liga NOS’ powerhouses in FC Porto, initially serving as an understudy to Spanish legend Iker Casillas before displacing him in 2017.

PSV v Olympiacos - UEFA Europa League
EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS – FEBRUARY 25: goalkeeper Jose Sa of Olympiacos (Photo by Perry van de Leuvert/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Unfortunately for Sa, he was only able to maintain the first-team jersey for a number of months and was eventually replaced again for Casillas following a 5-0 defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League.

 

At the end of the 2017/18 season, Sa joined Olympiakos on loan before becoming a permanent signing the following summer. He has since won the last two league titles in Greece, adding to his one at Porto.

How does he compare to Patricio?

Despite both being Portuguese goalkeepers, Sa has never won an international cap as opposed to Patricio’s 97.

Spain v Portugal - International Friendly
MADRID, SPAIN – JUNE 04: Rui Patricio of Portugal (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

That being said, Sa is five years junior to the now-Roma man (33) and should help Wolves a lot from set pieces.

Last season with Patricio in goal, the club conceded 13 goals from set pieces, which, according to WhoScored, is the third biggest total in the league.

What might reassure fans is that Sa is more comfortable stopping crosses. Over the past year Sa has stopped 7.2% of crosses as opposed to Patricio’s 5.5% of ones which were cut out.

Olympiacos FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: First Leg
PIRAEUS, GREECE – MARCH 12: Jose Sa of Olympiacos FC (Photo by UEFA – Handout/UEFA via Getty Images)

Both have similar passing and saving percentages but one thing Wolves fans may be concerned by is the rashness of their new goalkeeper, conceding three penalties across the past season.

Yes, Sa has not tasted football in one of Europe’s top five leagues, but neither had Patricio until he arrived at Molineux. For a lower transfer fee than his predecessor, Sa has the potential to be a real bargain for Wolves.

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