A day after reportedly submitting a €15 million offer for striker Andrea Belotti, one deemed “provocative” (in the dictionary sense; he presumably wasn't titillated by the offer) by Torino President Urbano Cairo, Roma GM Tiago Pinto has seemingly gone back to the drawing board to provide José Mourinho with a new striker for Roma's latest project. While players like Mauro Icardi and Memphis Depay continue to be linked with the Giallorossi, according to reports out of Brazil, the club may look to one of Mourinho's former Tottenham charges for help upfront.
According to Globo.com—not a source we cite frequently—Pinto and Roma could look to Carlos Vinicius to reinforce their frontlines. Vinicius, a 26-year-old striker from Rio de Janeiro, played under Mourinho at Tottenham this past season and has some slight Serie A connections, having been signed by Napoli prior to the 2018-2019 season.
Vinicius, a 6’3” left-footed striker, started his career with Golas and Gremios Anapolis in the Brazilian league before making the leap to Europe in the summer of 2017, singing up with Real SC in the Portuguese second division. After finishing his first season with Real as the second-leading scorer in the league, Vinicius was signed by Napoli for €4 million in the summer of 2018.
However, Vinicius never made his competitive debut with Napoli, instead spending the 2018-2019 season on loan with Rio Ave in the Portuguese top-flight, where he collected 14 goals in all competitions in only six months. Vinicius spent the next six months on loan with Monaco, where he found success harder to come by, scoring only two goals and chipping in one assist in 16 competitions.
With no path to playing time at Napoli, Vinicius was sold to Benfica in the summer of 2019 for €17 million; a deal that reportedly also included a €100 million release clause. While that seemed like an exorbitant sum given his struggles at Monaco, Benfica's faith in Vinicius was quickly rewarded as the then 24-year-old scored 19 goals and provided five assists in only 1,700 league minutes.
Despite that prolific debut with Benfica, Vinicius faced stiffed competition from Darwin Nunez, who was rumored to be Benfica manager Jorge Jesus’ preferred striker. Relegated to being second-choice, Vinicius was loaned to Tottenham for the 2020-2021 season.
While he would still play second fiddle to Harry Kane in Tottenham, Mourinho's counter-attacking tactics seemed to play to Vinicius’ strengths, and while Vinigol, as he's sometimes called, scored 10 goals in 22 appearances (all comps), Spurs will reportedly pass on their option to make the move permanent, putting Vinicius firmly on Mourinho's radar once again.
At 26-years-old, Vinicius isn't once the gleaming prospect he appeared to be, but for his European career, he’s averaging 0.74 goals and 1.20 key passes per 90 minutes with a 25% goal conversion rate. Couple that with his exceptional size and the fact that Mourinho specifically sought him out while at Spurs and Vinicius could be a stealthy signing for a club searching for a new figure to lead the line at the Stadio Olimpico next season and beyond.