Patrick Cutrone arrived in 2019 with so much fanfare that it’s hard to understand how quickly his Wolverhampton Wanderers career settled down.
When Wolves agreed to pay AC Milan £16 million for Cutrone, almost everyone agreed that Fosun had struck gold.
Of course, Cutrone’s final season in Milan – where he scored nine goals in 43 games in 2018/19 – was not as impressive as the one before it.
But the deal looked extraordinary, at least on paper. Wolves will sign the 21-year-old Italy international with top-notch European experience for a relatively small transfer fee.
“In Italy he is compared to Filippo Inzaghi,” Semper Milan reporter Vito Engel told Birmingham Live at the time. “He has a strong sense of where the goal is, a gift that allows him to be decisive even when he comes off the bench.”
Since Cutrone signed for Wolves two and a half years ago, the heir to the throne the great Inzaghi has scored a total of 10 goals.
Three of them came in Wolves’ colours, before Nuno Espirito Santo sent Homesick to Italian side Fiorentina on an 18-month loan deal.
Cutrone quickly fell out of favor in Florence, so the Wolves agreed to take him back the previous January, only to have Nuno pack him in Valencia once Willian José signed – who would eventually be in Wolves’ colors. Was even more ineffective than Cutrone.
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A stint in Spain did not work and Cutrone returned to Wolves in the summer, where he worked under Bruno Lage.
Ledge gave Cutrone a chance to win him over in the pre-season, telling the striker: “I told Cutrone, ‘You’re here for two years, on loan every time, but the fans are singing your song, so you have something to prove. Need on pitch.
“If you want to change something, it’s not the change I give you in training and sports. People, you never play here and you have a song. They’re waiting for you.
“It’s true, isn’t it?! Go there and show people something, that’s the job.”
A week after those comments by Ledge to a small group of journalists at Molyneux, Cutrone was loaned to Empoli.
He gives time to engaged players, but ‘not much time’, as he often talks about his youth.
Cutrone is an Empoli side playing regularly that gets its fair share of goals. Despite being a newcomer to Serie A, Empoli is ranked 11th and should have no fear of returning to Serie B.
Cutrone, who recently turned 24, provided the highlight of Empoli’s season in December with a winning goal against third-placed Napoli.
That header at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium is one of just two Serie A goals that Cutrone has managed in 17 appearances for Empoli.
He has started 10 of his 21 league games and should finish the season in Italy.
His long-term future will need to be finalized next summer but Cutrone’s struggles since joining Wolves have currently made £16m impossible.
According to Transfermark, Cutrone is now worth £5.4m, while Football Observatory is worth just £3m.
This is a headache for Wolves’ owners Fosun, who hate taking losses on transfers.
However, unless Cutrone’s form in front of goal improves significantly, Wolves will have to take a hit before his contract expires in 2023.
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