Why Wolves should bring back Ruben Vinagre

According to O Jogo (h/t Birmingham Mail), Wolves full-back Ruben Vinagre is set to cut his loan spell at Olympiacos short and head to Braga. With the youngster struggling for game time, he is being recalled but is unlikely to be a part of the Wolves side for this season.

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Ruben Vinagre spent time in the youth ranks of Belenenses and Sporting Lisbon in Portugal before moving to French club AS Monaco in 2015. The highly-rated starlet never made a senior appearance for Monaco and joined Wolves on loan back in the summer of 2017.

The 21-year-old featured 9 times for Nuno Santo’s side in the Championship during the 2017-18 season as the Black Country outfit secured promotion to the Premier League as the outright winners of the second division.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester City Premier League Ruben Vinagre of Wolverhampton Wanderers takes on Kyle Walker of Manchester City during the Premier League match at Molineux, Wolverhampton

Vinagre’s loan move was eventually turned into a permanent transfer and the Portuguese U-21 international has since served as the understudy to Jonny Otto Castro at left wing-back. After playing a bit-part role during the 2018-19 campaign, Vinagre established himself in a more substantial role last term, scoring twice in 33 appearances across all competitions.

Wolves should bring Vinagre back

Ruben Vinagre has featured 70 times in all competitions for Wolves over the past three seasons, with the 2019-20 campaign yielding 33 of those appearances for the youngster.

That’s enough to testify his impressive progress at Molineux and his performances last season, especially in the Europa League, suggest that there is a lot more to come from the Portuguese youth international moving forward.

However, with Marcal and Rayan Ait Nouri’s arrival this season, Vinagre was seen as surplus to requirements and was sent on loan to Greek side Olympiacos. His rapid development has been halted due to the lack of game time and could again head out to a different team on loan.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United Premier League 25/10/2020. Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Marcal 5 during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle United at Molineux, Wolverhampton, England on 25 October 2020.

However, it is worth mentioning here that Marcal is already 31 and Ait Nouri is just 19. Both are at different spectrums of their playing careers. The presence of a familiar face like Vinagre would really be of use to Nuno Espirito Santo.

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Ruben Vinagre still has his best years ahead of him at 21 and it would be a bizarre decision for the club to loan him at this stage of his career, especially after putting in all the hard work behind his development.

The Portuguese starlet has what it takes to establish himself as a regular fixture in Wolves’ starting XI in the years to come. He can provide good competition to Ait Nouri and that would allow both these talented youngsters to flourish.

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