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Liam Keen comment: Wolves' Vitinha snub justified but midfield now needs work

No Wolves fan could have imagined where Vitinha would end up following his spell at Molineux.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles of West Bromwich Albion and Vitinha of Wolverhampton Wanderers. (AMA)
Ainsley Maitland-Niles of West Bromwich Albion and Vitinha of Wolverhampton Wanderers. (AMA)

The 22-year-old has just joined PSG on a five-year contract for a fee of around £34.5million and will now be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe – it’s a far cry from Chorley away!

Vitinha arrived at Molineux on loan from Porto for the 2020/21 season and in 22 senior appearances flattered to deceive.

He managed one assist, which came in the Premier League win over Chelsea, and his only goal was, of course, that wonderful effort in the FA Cup against Chorley.

There was the occasional impressive performance – such as his display in the 1-1 Black Country derby with Albion – but overall he failed to set the world alight and for £18million, which was the option Wolves had to buy him at the time, he was simply not worth it.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and everyone at Wolves would love to have the young midfielder in their ranks now, but context is king.

Nuno Espirito Santo did not trust him, too many times he failed to take his chance and ultimately the club made the right decision – at the time – not to sign him.

Considering Wolves’ self-sufficient model, spending £18million on him after a poor season would have been seen as terrible business. He also may never have reached the heights of late.

Right now he would suit Bruno Lage’s team like a glove, but it was impossible to foresee what he did in a superb season for Porto that has ultimately led him to this brilliant PSG move. He may be seen as the one that got away, but Wolves’ decision was more than justified.

What may upset fans more, following Vitinha’s success, is the current state of Wolves’ midfield.

The future of Ruben Neves is uncertain, Joao Moutinho is yet to sign a new deal and Leander Dendoncker is in the final year of his contract – although the club has an option to extend this by another year.

The noise around Neves and any potential big move is strangely quiet. If he does stay every supporter will rejoice, but in some way the uncertainty around him leaves a cloud over Wolves. The last thing you want is to lose him very late on in the window – if he goes, get it done sooner rather than later and have adequate time to replace him.

Wolves need similar clarity over Moutinho. There is still every chance he could stay and although he is technically no longer a Wolves player, a decision could still drag on into next week.

Lage needs signings across the board but midfield feels crucial. The club needs depth and quality – with even more work to do if they lose personnel in that department.

Vitinha’s big money move to France serves as a timely reminder of what the club could have had and what they now need. The youngster may not have been right for Wolves at the time but there are plenty of big decisions to make in midfield this summer. At least we will always have Chorley!

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