Wolves have had yet another strong Premier League campaign so far. 6th in the table and just 5 points off 4th place Chelsea. Not to mention they’ve progressed to the knockout stages of the Europa League. But as the fixtures pile up this season with multiple competitions, they need reinforcements. We’ve spoken about Leonardo Campana, but he’ll go into the U23 squad. The Wanderers need a backup striker to the outstanding Raul Jimenez and for that role, they’ve identified Nelson Oliveira.
According to Sky Sports, the West Midlands side are closing in deals for the Portuguese international, Campana and Olympiakos winger Daniel Podence. The forward has had a strong season for AEK Athens, with 9 goals and 2 assists in just 15 games. In his prime now, the Benfica youth product looks set on a return to English football.
The name is likely to ring a bell for most Wolves fans. The striker has had a vast amount of experience in English football, playing for Nottingham Forest, Norwich and Reading over recent seasons in the Championship. While at Carrow Road, he actually scored against them in a 2-2 draw. The 28 year old even featured for Swansea in the Premier League. Now plying his trade in Greece, Oliveira is once again in demand from an English team. For the most part of his career, he’s been a journeyman, going on loan 6 times while at Benfica and playing in 6 different countries.
But with a reported £6 million deal on the cards, here’s why Nuno Espirito Santo wants to add yet another Portuguese player to his squad:
Nelson Oliveira – Style of Play
At 6ft 1, Oliveira has a good physical presence, able to shield the ball comfortably from the opposition. His height also makes him a large aerial threat from set pieces, especially with how well he heads the ball as shown in the video. Characteristics that fit perfectly with the physical demands of the Premier League.
Coupled with the height and strength, the former Benfica forward has a decent turn of pace. Not lightning quick, but enough to be able to run onto passes and beat his man. What separates the former Forest loanee from a lot of strikers is his movement. Knowing he isn’t the quickest, he makes intelligent runs into the box and positions himself well for the cross. Either with a header or an easy tap-in.
Alongside being a good finisher in the box, the striker is very good from long distance. The video and his other stints in England show he’s not afraid to shoot from outside the box, with reasonable success too. He’ll get on well with Ruben Neves, that’s for sure. The Portuguese international has never been afraid to test the keeper, averaging 3.2 shots per game for Norwich in 2017/18.
Some concerns about the striker…
Concerns with Oliveira are his injury record and his attitude. When he plays, he does well and scores goals. But part of the reason why he never got over 11 goals in a Championship season was how often he was on the sidelines. Alongside the injuries, there are concerns over attitude. The former Norwich striker fell out with Daniel Farke during his time with the Canaries, reacting angrily when substituted on one occasion and also failing to leave the club in the 2018 summer window, despite being told he wasn’t part of their plans.
Like any manager, Nuno will want full commitment ahead of a tough part of the season for the club. If Nelson Oliveira can sort that out and stay fit, he could do well as a backup striker. £6 million isn’t much in today’s market and, subject to the two things mentioned above, it’s a signing that makes sense. Worst come worst, at least it takes the pressure of Jimenez and gives him a break.
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