The Brazilian has had a mixed start to life in SW6, but he’s making a career out of one of the game’s toughest gigs – back-up striker.
Let’s get this out of the way early doors: Carlos Vinicius has already written himself into Fulham folklore with that goal against Chelsea. But the jury is still very much out on whether he’s the guy to fill in for our Serbian talisman Aleksander Mitrovic in the long term.
We might not answer that question here today, but hopefully by the end of this piece we can agree on one thing: he’s got one of the toughest jobs in football. And if you dare to bet on his future, online bookies will welcome your wager with their betting welcome offers for those interested.
Always the bridesmaid
We were first introduced to Vini in England when he signed for Tottenham Hotspur on loan in October 2020. It came off the back of a successful campaign where he bagged 24 goals in 47 games in all competitions for Benfica. Now, in the modern game “two up top” is a bit of a relic, so everyone knew he was there to slide into the Spurs XI whenever Harry Kane became injured.
Even then, this wasn’t a role he was unfamiliar with. You see, Vini’s first big move was to Napoli three years earlier, in 2017, from Portuguese second-tier side Real SC. And while he never made a first-team appearance for Gli Azzurri, he did play for Monaco on loan during that time.
While there, he deputised for ex-Manchester United and Chelsea forward Radamel Falcao. And while the Colombian wasn’t operating at the level he did at Atletico Madrid earlier in his career, he was number one at Monaco, restricting Vini to just 16 appearances, where he scored two goals.
At Spurs, his role was even more bit-part. He made just nine appearances in the Premier League, scoring once. He’s already nearly doubled that appearance tally for the Whites this term.
It was in the Europa League where Vinicius really shone, bagging six goals in nine games. This is because Spurs rested Kane for most of the competition, giving Carlos the ball to run with. And he proved that he was up to the challenge. If you think Vinicius could hit six goals in all competitions this season, you can find odds at online bookies for this prediction.
That might just be a smart bet. Having already bagged a goal against Chelsea in Mitro’s absence, Vinicius looks set to play a larger role as the Serb continues to battle a foot injury that’s been plaguing him since November last year. Against Brighton, Marco Silva opted for Bobby De Cordova-Reid up top in the false nine position, but with that largely considered a failed plan, the Fulham boss may opt for Vinicius to lead the line once more.
More to come
Despite all this, you get the feeling that there’s more to come from Vinicius. He’s still just 27 years old, and while his goal tally might not be as high as he or anyone else might like, there are other strings to his bow. He can hold the ball up well to bring others into play, and he has an eye for a great ball, as evidenced by his assist for Manor Solomon’s winning strike against Brighton. That was his second assist of the season, having set up Harry Wilson to open the scoring in Fulham’s FA Cup fourth round replay against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
There might be some criticisms laid a Vini’s door, but he’s proven that when he gets a chance, we can deliver. It’s not easy having the toughest job in football.