Leo Bonatini leaving Wolves on loan for Portugal looks ideal for all parties
According to Birmingham Live, out-of-favour Wolves’ striker Leo Bonatini has joined Portuguese top-tier side Vitoria Setubal on a season-long loan deal.
The 25-year-old Brazilian forward was frozen out of the senior squad by manager Nuno Espirito Santo, who recommended him to train with the U-23 side. (h/t Birmingham Live)
Bonatini made only 7 substitute appearances for the Black Country outfit in the Premier League in the first half of the previous campaign before heading out on loan at Nottingham Forest in January.
However, his brief stint at the City Ground proved to quite unimpressive, as the striker failed to challenge for a regular starting role under Martin O’Neill and drew a complete blank in 5 league appearances.
And the writing was on the wall for the Brazilian when Nuno Santo demoted him to train with the kids this summer following his poor run of form.
Things, though, were a lot brighter for Bonatini back in the club’s Championship days, with the 25-year-old establishing himself as more than a useful striker in the second-tier.
The Brazilian, who made his move to Molineux initially on a season-long loan deal from Saudi club Al-Hilal back in the summer of 2017, hit the ground running in English football immediately and amassed 12 goals and 5 assists to propel the club to a promotion-winning campaign.
That prompted Wolves to make his stay permanent for a fee of £5 million last summer, with expectations that he would compete with Raul Jimenez for a spot in the side and chip in with some valuable goals as the back-up striker in the club’s ranks.
Well, there is a hell of a lot of difference between cutting the mustard in the Championship and the Premier League, especially if you are a striker, and Bonatini found that out pretty soon.
Not only did he fail to challenge for a starting role, but the 25-year-old also didn’t look capable of making any kind of impact as a substitute.
Well, it hardly takes a professional analyst to figure out that Leo Bonatini’s future at Molineux is bleak as long as Wolves are in the Premier League and a loan move away from the club isn’t a big shock after all, given that Nuno Santo has plenty of other options up top at his disposal.
Raul Jimenez has kicked on from where he had left season, already scoring some vital goals for Wolves in the Premier League, as well as in the Europa League qualifiers.
Furthermore, new arrivals like Patrick Cutrone and Neto earlier in the summer was a clear indication of Nuno Santo’s desire to upgrade his squad, meaning that Bonatini was never expected to get a look in from the manager for a role this term.
Indeed, Wolves needed to start moving away from the mediocrity of some of their promotion stars after making an incredible return to the top-flight and securing qualification to the group stages of the Europa League.
With that in mind, the departure of players like Helder Costa, Ivan Cavaleiro and now Bonatini certainly makes a lot of sense for the club, with the manager looking to trim his squad and cut down unnecessary expenses.
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From the player’s perspective, Bonatini enjoyed a 17-goal season at Estoril in the Portuguese top-flight back in the 2015-16 campaign and a return to the Primeira Liga might just help him rediscover his goalscoring mojo.
Hence, it is easy to see why the move suits all parties perfectly.