You would’ve been forgiven for being concerned for Wolves when first-choice goalkeeper Rui Patricio left the West Midlands to join AS Roma last summer for a reported figure of £9.8m.
The Black Country club eventually recruited Jose Sa from Olympiakos for £6.25m, a signing which has proven to be a masterstroke.
In the Portuguese goalkeeper’s first season in the Premier League, he has kept 11 clean sheets in 32 appearances so far, conceding just 28 goals in that space of time.
To put that figure into context, during Patricio’s time at Molineux, Sa’s fellow countryman kept 37 clean sheets in 127 appearances, conceding 151 goals – an average of a clean sheet every 3.43 games and 1.19 goals per game, compared to Sa’s 2.91 and 0.86 respectively.
The 34-year-old was a key figure for Wolves, signing for the Old Gold following their promotion to the top flight in 2018, but he has been replaced excellently with a figure who could well be number one for plenty of years to come.
Not only has Sa been an excellent recruit, but the deal to purchase him is now looking like a bargain.
To have paid just £6.25m for a goalkeeper who currently averages less than a goal conceded per game in the Premier League is astounding, especially when you consider the astronomical £71.6m fee that Chelsea paid for the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga in 2018.
According to Transfermarkt, the goalkeeper was valued at £6.75m when Wolves signed him, making the £6.25m fee a pretty fair deal. However, after a stellar maiden campaign at Molineux, the 29-year-old has seen his value rise to £12.6m, just over double the transfer fee paid for him.
Was Sa the Premier League signing of the summer?
It’s a colossal increase when considering that, for the majority of Sa’s career, he has been valued at under £2.5m. If this form is to continue, then surely a first senior cap for Portugal isn’t far away.
Patricio is still the country’s number one with an impressive 102 caps for his national team but, like at Wolves, Sa could be his eventual heir in the coming years.
One thing seem certain – Bruno Lage certainly won’t be looking to change the man between the sticks for a very long time.