Followers of the Portuguese game are well aware that the country is on the cusp of another “Golden Generation” of football. The last Golden Generation produced players like Rui Costa and Luis Figo, so the very thought of another generation anywhere close to as talented as the last one is encouraging. The reason for the excitement is a number of extremely talented players, already with considerable playing time under their belts in some of Europe’s top leagues. Players like João Mario, William Carvalho, Bernardo Silva, and André Gomes are some of the more well-known names, thanks to impressive performances this season. One player who hasn’t truly gained as much recognition (until recently) is João Carlos Teixeira. Teixeira played for Brighton Hove & Albion this season, on loan from English Premier League giants Liverpool. Despite some impressive, if inconsistent, performances, Teixeira hasn’t garnered much media or fan attention since playing in the English second tier with Brighton. His performances, as I have alluded to, deserve more recognition.
According to recent media speculation, French club Lille are seriously considering asking Manchester City for a season-long extension to Marcos Lopes’ loan deal. Lopes is currently on a season-long loan from Manchester City. The Portuguese attacking midfielder has been in impressive form lately, most notably scoring the winner over current league-leaders Lyon last weekend. Reports indicate, however, that Manchester City are keen to extend the young midfielder’s contract before agreeing to any kind of extension. His current deal runs out in 2016. Continue reading
Benfica to Monaco
It was announced this week that Benfica had officially sold 20 year-old Bernardo Silva to Ligue 1 side Monaco for just under 16 million euros. Silva has spent the first half of the season on loan at Monaco, and has impressed in both the league and the Champions League. Some may have predicted this move from the start, as Monaco had the option to purchase the midfielder as a part of the loan agreement, but there were signs that Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira intended to bring Silva back for next season. Now, with the dust settled, all we can do is look back at what it could have been for Benfica. This is not to say that Silva’s career is over, by any stretch of the imagination. The midfielder is touted to have a bright future, and could very well be one of the most important Portuguese players of his generation, but this move has deep implications for the Portuguese game, and represents a trend currently occurring in Portugal. Continue reading
Benfica B midfielder Rúben Pinto has joined Primeira Liga side Paços Ferreira on loan until the end of the season to fill the void left by Ruben Ribeiro, who has joined Gil Vicente on loan. Pinto played the first half of this season for Benfica’s B team, which competes in Portugal’s second tier, the Segunda Liga. A captain at Benfica B, Pinto will now get his first taste of top-flight soccer at Paços. Continue reading
Benfica to Swansea (loan)
Benfica striker Nelson Oliveira has agreed to a loan to Swansea City in the English Premier League until the end of the season. Much touted earlier in his career, Oliveira has stagnated. Having only made a handful of appearances for Benfica’s first team this season, a loan deal looked likely, and despite joining a team in such a challenging and difficult league, there’s every indication that Oliveira will see playing time. Continue reading
Sporting to Brentford (loan)
Sporting B’s Betinho has joined Championship side Brentford on loan until the end of the season, both clubs have confirmed. Betinho divided his time last season between Sporting B (in the Segunda Liga) and Vitoria Setubal (in the Primeira Liga). Despite impressing in the first half of last season for Sporting B, where he scored nine goals in the first half of the season, Betinho could not replicate those numbers after January while on loan at Vitoria Setubal. During his time in Setubal, Betinho did not even manage a single goal, and was mostly used in a back-up role.
Brentford returned to the second tier of English football this season after a 21 year hiatus, and appears to be a club that is willing to experiment. It is unclear as to what role Betinho will play at the club, whether it be as a starter or as a super-sub. One hopes that Betinho will thrive in the highly-physical league due to his body-build and playing style.
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) September 1, 2014
Porto to West Bromwich Albion (loan)
After first-team chances looked slim this pre-season, Porto winger Silvestre Varela has left the club on loan. The winger, who had been an undisputed starter over the past few seasons now will join English Premier League side West Brom on loan until the end of the season. There is no mention of whether or not West Brom will have the option to sign him at the end of the loan, but with his Porto future up in the air, there’s every possibility an option does exist.
After a disappointing 2013/2014 campaign, Porto renovated their squad heavily. Head coach Paulo Fonseca was sacked and was replaced by former Spanish U-21 team head coach Julien Lopetegui. With Lopetegui came a host of Spanish players, including Adrian (Atletico Madrid), Oliver Torres (Atletico Madrid), and Cristian Tello (Barcelona). Other players were brought in from clubs such as Real Madrid, Granada, and Feyenoord. These signings spelled the end of Varela’s time at Porto, at least temporarily.
Though Varela is taking a step backwards in term of quality of club (from Porto to West Brom), he is certainly stepping up in terms of league quality. The English Premier League has formed a reputation for being one of the most competitive leagues in existence at the moment. Varela will now have the opportunity to play against some of the finest opposition in world football, which will do nothing but help his chances of appearing for the Portuguese National Team.
Manchester United to Sporting (loan)
Portugal National Team and Manchester United winger Nani has returned to his boyhood club, albeit on loan until the end of the season. Nani began his career at Sporting before moving to English giants Manchester United in the summer of 2007 after two impressive seasons in Portugal. A mixture of injuries and indifferent form has held Nani back recently, and the winger has not had a truly successful season since 2012. This move will surely help Nani’s chances at playing time.
This move may come as a bit of a surprise to those who haven’t been following it from the beginning. Nani was greatly out of favor with David Moyes, who took charge at Manchester United last season after club legend Sir Alex Ferguson retired. After Moyes’ subsequent sacking, Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal took the reins for this season. Almost immediately, Van Gaal made it clear that Nani did not feature in the team’s plans, and that the winger should begin looking for a new club. Juventus, Milan, and Inter were all interested in bringing in Nani, but a move never materialized, likely due to Nani’s huge wage demands.
With Manchester United looking for a defender, they turned their eyes to Marcos Rojo, who enjoyed a stellar World Cup with Argentina. Once the English team made a bid, Sporting demanded that Nani be part of the deal. Manchester United accepted the deal, which sees Nani join Sporting on a season-long loan, with Marcos Rojo joining Manchester United for a fee of around 10 million euros. As part of the deal (possibly the most crucial bit), Manchester United will pay all of Nani’s wages during the loan, which is something that Sporting is financially incapable of doing.
And the funny thing is…Nani left Manchester United and will now be playing in the Champions League.
Benfica to Valencia (loan)
Benfica’s young right-back Joao Cancelo has joined La Liga side Valencia on a season-long loan from Benfica, the Spanish club have announced. Cancelo is already training with the team and will be presented later today. It is believed that the arrival of Cancelo will spell the end of Joao Pereira’s time at Valencia, with the veteran right-back reportedly on the out.
This move comes after a summer of speculation about Joao Cancelo’s future. Pacos Ferreira were reportedly very close to securing a loan deal earlier in the summer, but that deal fell through. More recently, it was announced that Meriton Capital Limited, Valencia’s soon-to-be owner Peter Lim’s company, purchased the rights to Cancelo as well as Bernardo Silva and Ivan Cavaleiro. With little reported on this supposed purchase, it is difficult to determine its legitimacy. But if it is true, it comes as little surprise, as Peter Lim recently purchased the rights to two other Benfica players, Andre Gomes and Rodrigo.
The Spanish club’s new coach, Nuno Espirito Santo, is known from his time coaching Rio Ave to have strong ties to Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes. Mendes has brokered deals for players such as David Luis, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Angel Di Maria in the past, and much of Nuno’s Rio Ave side were represented by Mendes’ agency, Gestifute. Andre Gomes, Rodrigo, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, and Ivan Cavaleiro are all represented by Mendes, which will guarantee them big moves in the future, but not necessarily playing time.
Liverpool to Bordeaux (loan)
Liverpool and Portugal U-21 central defender Tiago Ilori has joined Ligue 1 side Bordeaux on a season-long loan from English Premier League side Liverpool until the end of the season. This loan comes as little surprise, after the arrival of Dejan Lovren at Liverpool. The club’s signing of Lovren meant that had Ilori stayed at Liverpool, he would have had to compete with no less than six central defenders, including seasoned internationals Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho.
This is not the first time Ilori has been loaned by Liverpool, having spent the second-half of last season on loan in Spain with Granada. Ilori impressed during his time at the Spanish club, and will hope for similar exposure this time in France. According to the details of the loan, Ilori will stay at the club until the end of the season, and there is no option for Bordeaux to make the loan permanent. Should this loan prove successful, we could see Ilori in the Portuguese National Team in the foreseeable future.
— FCGirondins Bordeaux (@girondins) August 18, 2014