CARLOS VINICIUS: THE SIGNING SPURS HAVE BEEN CRYING FOR
Jose Mourinho has not exactly been shy in hinting at his desperate need for a back-up striker, a move which would help ease some of the weight off Harry Kane’s shoulders. But yesterday, it was revealed that Jose had finally landed his man in the shape of Benfica striker Carlos Vinicius.
Vinicius has joined Spurs on an initial season-long loan costing Spurs £2.73m, with the option to buy for £38.2m.
The Brazilian born goalscorer has made the move from Portugal to North London just a few days before the summer transfer window closes, in what is essentially a try before you buy type deal for Levy and co.
So, who exactly is Carlos Vinicius and what can he bring to the table for Spurs this coming season?
The 25-year-old had a phenomenal season with Benfica finding the back of the net 18 times in the Primiera Liga, while also picking up eight assists helping Benfica finish 2nd place, just five points shy of bitter rivals Porto.
But the Brazilian international struggled slightly in European competitions, only scoring once in seven appearances, five in the Champions League group stage and two in the first knockout round of the Europa League. However, there’s no denying he can score goals.
His journey so far
Vinicius began his football career as a centre-back for Goiás at just 14 years old. He then went on to have some brief spells with Caldense and Grȇmio Anápolis, slowly working his way up the pitch initially as a defensive midfielder and then in the number 10 role.
His first opportunity to play in his now preferred center-forward position came about in a friendly where he scored twice, impressing some Portuguese scouts earning him a one-year loan deal with Real SC.
This was where Vinicius first showed his goal-scoring pedigree, opening his account on his competitive debut for Real and following up that with a hattrick in his first league game. Those three goals were just the beginning for the centre-back converted striker, ending the season with 20 goals in 38 appearances.
An excellent season with Real SC didn’t go unnoticed, as Vinicius earnt a move to Serie A giants Napoli. Although the move didn’t quite work out for the young striker, ultimately sent out on loan to both Rio Ave and Monaco during the 2018/19 season.
Before Christmas Vinicius was at the top of his game scoring 14 goals in 20 competitive appearances with Rio Ave, but in the second half of the season in Monaco, the goal-scoring was down substantially where the forward managed just two goals in his six-month loan deal.
Spotting his undeniable talent in front of goal, Benfica purchased the forward from Napoli for a fee of around £17m, inserting a release clause of £100m. 18 goals in 32 games, most of which coming from his wand of a left foot and Vinicius was receiving admirers all over Europe, especially in England, with Arsenal being the only traditional big six club not enquiring about his availability at some point.
Knowing they had a real talent on their hands Benfica’s asking price was around the £50m mark, a fee not too appealing to the clubs after his signature. But the fact that Benfica were unable to secure a group stage spot in the Champions League this season, has meant that the asking price has been greatly reduced and that’s where Spurs come in.
Style of play
Standing at six foot three inches you’d expect Vinicius to adopt the target man style of play, using his large frame to bring other players into the game, while also scoring plenty of headers. When in fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The former Napoli man adopts the poacher style often used by smaller, more nippy strikers, while also applying his attacking instinct to be in the right place at the right time.
The majority of his goals for Benfica last season came in and around the box with some clever and clinical finishing - doesn’t that sound familiar Spurs fans?
Playing in a number of positions growing up means that Vinicius is a versatile player, able to play anywhere along the front four positions if required.
What this means for Harry Kane?
Quite simply this signing means some well-deserved rest for Harry Kane. Although the arrival will be very important throughout the remaining months of the season, realistically Spurs really could’ve done with their new signing throughout September, where Mourinho’s men faced a mind-boggling busy schedule.
Alongside possibly replacing Harry Kane in cup games and possible Europa League fixtures, it’s another option off the bench for Spurs. A different outlet to chuck onto the pitch to play two upfront and give Kane a natural striker as his partner.
What happens now?
With his work permit still not sorted, Vinicius won’t be in the squad for Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford. But the upcoming International break means the striker will have plenty of time to work with Mourinho before being inserted into the first-team squad.
Spurs fans have waited 641 days for this moment and it hasn’t disappointed, with the announcement video directly from Spurs even poking fun at their own inability to bring in strikers.
Although we will have to wait to see Vinicius in action for the Lilywhites, the wait for a new striker is finally over and maybe, just maybe, it’s time for another thing to happen that’s long overdue.