News came out today that Croatian midfielder Luka Modric had completed Tottenham to Real Madrid for a staggering 33 million euros. This move thins out what was an already thick midfield in regards to talent. On Tottenham’s roster are the likes of Tom Huddlestone, Rafael Van der Vaart, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jake Livermore, Scott Parker, and Sandro, all of whom are, or have been, regular internationals. Though it appears that more spending in the midfield may not be necessary, it appears that it will nevertheless happen.
All summer, Tottenham have been linked with a host of midfielders, in response to the almost imminent departure of star man Modric. One such player is Porto’s Joao Moutinho. Currently a mainstay of the Porto team, Moutinho dictates the play on the pitch. When he plays, Porto looks noticeably better. When he is benched, the team suffers. His role is that of a box-to-box midfielder. Gifted with loads of stamina, Moutinho will bounce around on the pitch, winning balls, and distributing them out. He’s not simply a tough player, though. At Porto, Moutinho has formed a reputation for being able to play a killer ball through the middle or out to the wings. This is much the same as Luka Modric at Tottenham. The two are similar in their basic strengths, but the are some minor differences (Modric is a better passer, Moutinho is scrappier). The gist of all of this is that Joao Moutinho and Luka Modric are similar players. Keep that in mind.
Joao Moutinho was born and raised a Sporting Lisbon player. He joined the Under-14 Sporting Lisbon team in 1999, aged just 13. He stayed at the club all the way until 2010, when Porto controversially purchased him. He, along with Miguel Veloso, was the crown jewel of the club, as he and Veloso’s development was because of the team’s youth setup. Moutinho was made vice-captain at age 19, and soon after, was named captain. It seemed like he would be a mainstay at Sporting for years to come. That was not to be the case however. An Andre Villas-Boas-led Porto bought him at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, and he has never looked back. This move was a curious one, as Moutinho was arguably in the darkest part of his career at the time of his move to Porto. He had just been excluded from the Portuguese team at the World Cup, and had just come off a sub-par year with Sporting. On top of that, he was moving to a club in the midst of a change of managers; from one extremely experienced manager to an unproven rookie. Porto, it should also be said, had only achieved third place in the league the season before. Because of all of this, his move to Porto was a strange one, but it proved to be extremely fruitful.
It now appears that Moutinho may be reunited with Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham. Last season, when Villas-Boas was the Chelsea boss, there was speculation that he would move for Moutinho. It’s no secret that Villas-Boas is a fan of Moutinho, but with the coach also weighing up moves for French international Yann M’Vila, Dutch international Ibrahim Afellay, Shakhtar star Willian, and American international Clint Dempsey, will a move for Moutinho actually happen?