Former Wolves striker David Connolly believes Patrick Cutrone is a ‘gamble’ for the club but a good deal.
Cutrone was announced as Wolves’ second new summer signing on Tuesday in a potential £20m deal on a four-year contract from AC Milan, coming days after Real Madrid central defender Jesus Vallejo arrived on a season-long loan.
One-capped Italy international Cutrone leaves AC Milan where he scored 27 goals in 90 games, including 16 in 42 in his first full season, 2017-18. Described as a ‘classic number nine’, Cutrone is said to possess physical presence and an aerial threat as well as excellent workrate and is seen as a complement to Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota.
Ex-Ireland international Connolly told talkSPORT: “Cutrone is pretty young; he hasn’t scored that many goals. He might be considered a gamble but probably one where, because he’s young, it’s probably a good deal money-wise. He’s not that expensive at an initial £16m, so it could be worth the risk. And you have to say a lot of their signings have worked out. Not too many have gone wrong of late.”
Connolly, who was the last Wolves player to score four goals in a game when he did so in Colin Lee’s first game in caretaker charge in a 6-1 rout at Bristol City in November 1998, believes Nuno Espirito Santo’s desire to keep a small squad is key to their success. “You’ve got to remember he’s got a small squad – why was that? It served them so well in the Championship and it’s a case of ‘if it’s not broken, you don’t have to fix it’,” said the 42-year-old.
“He’d like a little bit more in terms of beefing up the squad, but probably not to take away from their strength, which was where you could almost predict their team from week to week. I think what was key was turning Raul Jimenez’s loan into a permanent deal and they did that, and probably just try to sprinkle and supplement a little bit to what they have got by adding proper quality additions.”
Connolly scored six goals in 35 games for Wolves on loan from Feyenoord in 1998 and also played for Watford, Wimbledon, West Ham, Leicester, Wigan, Sunderland, Southampton and Portsmouth. The much-travelled striker reckons Nuno had the belief in his players to succeed in the Premier League and therefore didn’t need to make wholesale changes after promotion from the Championship.
“Teams like Fulham spent a lot of money and it didn’t quite work out, whereas Wolves stuck to the same plan, but I think that’s because those players were so good in the Championship, then to go up into the Premier League, maybe everyone knew they were good enough to cut the mustard,” he said.
“Was the back-up there? Or was the squad small and barely rotated because they were so good? I think the truth was somewhere in the middle.”