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Who is Wolverhampton Wanderers new boy Francisco Trincao?

Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at Francisco Trincao, who has joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on a season-long loan from Barcelona.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have pulled off an unforeseen deal for Barcelona attacker Francisco Trincao, who will link up with Bruno Lage's squad on loan from Barcelona for the 2021-22 season.

The West Midlands outfit are also thought to possess the option to purchase the Portugal international for a fee close to £25m, and Trincao has become Wolves' second signing of the summer following the arrival of Yerson Mosquera.

Already earning comparisons with Lionel Messi at the tender age of 21, the Molineux faithful can look ahead to Trincao's imminent debut with plenty of optimism, as he joins a long list of Portuguese talents to make the switch to the Premier League side.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at Trincao and his achievements during his fledgling career.


Background

Francisco Trincao and coach Ricardo Sa Pinto celebrate for Braga against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Europa League on September 19, 2019© Reuters

A product of the academies of Vianense, Porto, Palmeiras (Portugal) and Braga - joining the former when he was under 10 years old - Trincao rose through the youth ranks at Braga and quickly established himself as a tricky and versatile attacker, which became evident during his stint with the B team.

Featuring on the left, right or through the middle as a second striker, Trincao initially made a name for himself at the age of 18 in the 2017-18 Liga Portugal 2 campaign, as he registered five goals and five assists in 30 league appearances, including one each in a crushing 4-0 win over Porto's B team.

The attacker's debut for Braga's senior side came as a substitute in a Taca da Liga win versus Vitoria Setubal in December 2018 - one day before his 19th birthday - and six appearances in the 2018-19 Liga NOS season would follow, but he would have to wait another year to make a big impact in his homeland.

A slow start to the 2019-20 campaign would soon pale into insignificance as Trincao registered eight goals and eight assists in 27 league appearances, with his efforts helping Braga to a third-placed finish, and the attacker would also play a minor role against Wolves in the Europa League group stage.

Trincao's impressive numbers in the second half of the disrupted 2019-20 season would earn him a £26.6m move to Barcelona on a five-year deal last summer - which had initially been agreed in January - and such is his potential that the Blaugrana inserted a €500m (£429m) buyout clause into his deal.


Recent form

Francisco Trincao pictured for Barcelona in September 2020© Reuters

After giving Barcelona fans a taste of what they could expect with his stellar performances in Portugal during the first half of 2020, Trincao's debut for Barcelona would come as a substitute during a 4-0 win over Villarreal in September.

The youngster unsurprisingly struggled to displace Ousmane Dembele, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in Ronald Koeman's attack, and he had to wait until his ninth La Liga appearance to register a goal contribution, as he set up a Messi stunner during a 4-0 win over Osasuna on November 29.

Trincao would be given regular tastes of Champions League football during the group stages but was powerless to prevent Barca being thrashed by Paris Saint-Germain, but the month of February proved to be a successful one as he netted in back-to-back games versus Real Betis and Alaves, scoring a brace against the latter and firing in a stunning late winner against Betis.

The Portugal man would once again act as provider to a late Messi strike in a 4-1 win over Osasuna on March 15, and he ended the season with 28 La Liga appearances under his belt - three of them starts - but he was an unused substitute in the Copa del Rey final win over Athletic Bilbao.


International experience

Francisco Trincao pictured in July 2018© Reuters

Trincao first pulled on the Portugal shirt for the Under-17s during an international friendly with Turkey at the age of 15, but it was in the Under-19 European Championship where the winger truly set the continent alight.

Having found the back of the net in five of his six friendly appearances for the Under-19 side, Trincao made himself an undisputed starter for the 2018 Under-19 Euros and ended the group stage against Norway, Italy and Finland with two goals and two assists to his name.

Trincao would proceed to score two of his side's five goals in a crushing semi-final win over Ukraine, and during the final against Italy, he scored one and assisted one of Portugal's goals as the two sides drew 2-2 after 90 minutes before Portugal claimed a thrilling 4-3 win in extra time, with Trincao finishing as the tournament's top scorer alongside compatriot Jota.

Brief stints with the Under-20 and Under-21 sides would follow - and he even scored against England's prospects from the penalty spot in a 2-0 Under-21 European Championship win in March - and he has since earned six caps for the senior side, but Fernando Santos overlooked the Barca man for a place in Portugal's Euro 2020 squad.

Garnering praise for his ability to make runs from deep and wriggle out of tight spots with exceptional dribbling skills, Trincao caught the eye during his debut season with Barca and is certainly a welcome addition to the Premier League.


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Francisco Trincao pictured for Barcelona in September 2020
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