Francisco Trincao (£6.0m) is a new addition to the mid-price Fantasy Premier League (FPL) midfielder pool.
The 21-year-old winger has signed a season-long loan deal at Wolverhampton Wanderers, with the club holding an option to make the move from Barcelona permanent at the end of the campaign.
Trincao has already made six appearances for his native Portugal, so will be somewhat familiar with a number of his new teammates.
While he will be hoping to impress Bruno Lage and the Wolves coaching staff, we assess whether or not the attacker can make an FPL impression this season.
You can read more on the new Wolves boss here.
Trincao made his senior debut for Braga’s reserve side in April 2016, before graduating to the club’s senior set-up late in 2018.
He managed just 88 minutes over the 2018/19 campaign, before breaking into the first team with 17 starts the next season.
The 21-year-old impressed enough to earn a move to Barcelona, which was confirmed in January 2020 but became effective once the 2019/20 campaign had ended.
Playing time was limited in La Liga for Trincao last season, as he made just three starts and totalled 706 minutes before departing for England.
Wolves technical director Scott Sellars said of the club’s new signing:
He’s got loads of quality – signing for Barcelona from Braga shows what potential he’s got. He’s 21 and has played quite a lot of games in La Liga, so we think he’s ready for the Premier League.
On Trincao’s style, Sellars added:
He’s a really exciting player. It’s an area we’d like more competition, in terms of wide players. I think the fans are going to enjoy watching him play, he drives with the ball well and has good creativity. 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 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.
The technical director also believes that Wolves’ strong Portuguese connection can help the new midfielder acclimatise quickly.
He’s a player who has good experience, a good pedigree in terms of club and international games he’s had, so he’s certainly a player who is going to add quality to the squad.
We have a large Portuguese contingent and they look after each other well but are also integrated in the whole group. They’re really hard-working, with a good mentality, so I’m sure he’ll integrate well and settle in quickly.
With the manager’s Portuguese background, he knows him and speaks very highly of him, so he’s a player we’re very excited to be bringing to the club.
That connection should be particularly strong with the injured Pedro Neto (£6.5m), who hails from the same town as Trincao.
“So, I met Trincao in Vianense, our hometown. We were friends for a long time, I played with him at Braga too, I have been with him for a very long time. He’s a very good friend of mine and I hope to see him soon because it was a good signing, and he will help us a lot with his quality.” – Pedro Neto
In his breakout league season at Braga, Trincao scored on eight occasions and provided six assists over 1,575 minutes.
That equated to an average of 0.80 goals plus assists per 90 minutes. Trincao also managed 2.63 shots per 90 minutes in 2019/20, while hitting the target with 41.3% of his efforts.
Above: Trincao’s average of 2.63 shots per 90 minutes in 2019/20 was better than any of Wolves’ midfielders managed last season
Over limited playing time at Barcelona, the winger averaged 0.64 attacking returns per 90 minutes. That bore out in the form of three goals and two assists over 28 La Liga appearances, which included just three starts.
On Trincao’s Nou Camp showings, ESPN’s Barcelona correspondent Samuel Marsden told the Express & Star:
He was here for a year. In the second half of the season, he started playing less but it wasn’t really through anything he had done himself. A formation change went against him. Barca switched from the usual 4-3-3 to a 3-5-2 around February and then stuck with it for the rest of the season.
Before that, he was getting a lot of playing time and coming on in every game – and not just for the last five minutes, but half an hour or 40 minutes most games. Until that switch, we’d seen a player with a lot of talent, playing from the right and cutting in on his left.
As at Barcelona, Wolves’ formation under Lage could have a big impact on Trincao’s pitch time. On the new manager’s tactics, A Bola journalist Rui Miguel Melo explained:
He enjoys wide players but the wide players in this tactical approach are the full-backs. He likes to have his wingers cut inside.
That type of approach could suit Trincao, a player noted for his dribbling skills and propensity to drift centrally for shooting opportunities.
On those attributes and playing-time issues at Barcelona, Marsden added:
He had a couple of good moments – at Real Betis when Barca came back to win 3-2, scoring the winner late on which was a really nice goal. That was a left-footed curling finish and he scored two goals against Alaves as well.
The problem that he had was those moments were too few and far between. He took a long time to score his first goal and have a real impact in the final third. It’s always difficult, though, when you’re coming to a new city, especially a club as big as Barca – during Covid – and playing alongside Lionel Messi.
He was just starting to click, really, but that formation change came and he disappeared through no fault of his own. He’s great at dribbling at players – picking it up deep and going past two or three. He just ran out of the options in the end with the bodies ahead of him and the change of formation.
With Neto sidelined going into the new season and doubts over the fitness of Daniel Podence (£5.5m), Trincao may have a smoother path into the first XI than it might otherwise have been. Marsden, as with Sellars, believes that the young attacker can make an impact in England’s top division.
He’s got the potential to be really good in the Premier League. For him to convince Barca to spend 30m Euros on him, he’s obviously got something about him. He’s still young, so it’s hard to put too much weight on his shoulders, but he could be a really good signing.
There a lot of factors at play, especially with Wolves having a new manager. But he’s going into a squad with a lot of Portuguese players who will help settle him, having been with the senior national side a few times. It may be easier for him at Wolves, where there is perhaps less pressure and scrutiny than in Barcelona.
Having been priced £0.5m more than Podence and at the same tag as Adama Traore, it appears that Trincao’s reputation has preceded him at FPL towers.
He is part of a mid-priced midfield bracket stacked with Fantasy talent, competing with players such as Leeds wingers Raphinha (£6.5m) and Jack Harrison (£6.0m).
The ideal situation for FPL bosses would be seeing Trincao immediately make Lage’s first XI for opening fixtures against Leicester (a), Spurs (H) and Manchester United (H).
From Gameweek 4, Wolves’ games take a turn for the better. If Trincao is a fixture in this new iteration of the Molineux outfit, he could graduate from the watchlist to the cusp of our FPL squads.
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