Photo: Bursaspor.org.tr (Bursaspor’s official website)
It has been clear for some time that Porto did not intend to keep Josue this season. With the arrivals of Oliver Torres, Casemiro, Brahimi, and Evandro, little space has been reserved for Josue. After being absent at the official squad presentation, it was clear that Josue would not be at Porto this season, but the question remained as to where he would be playing his football.
After being heavily linked to newly-promoted French side Metz, as well as Deportivo, Napoli, Lazio, and Eskisehirspor, Josue has joined Turkish side Bursaspor on a season-long loan. Bursaspor is a club which has found success in recent years, cementing itself as an upper-mid-table team in the Turkish league. The team has not finished below eighth-place since the 2007-2008 season, and more recently won the league during the 2009-2010 season. Though a title challenge is most likely on the cards, Josue is joining a stable club, where he has the opportunity to play regularly alongside the likes of Fernando Belluschi, Taye Taiwo, Sebasitan Frey, and Jimmy Briand.
After days of intense speculation, it was announced yesterday that Benfica’s Ivan Cavaleiro had agreed to move on loan to La Liga side Deportivo for the season. Cavaleiro had been closely followed by Pacos Ferreira, Maritimo, and Academica after Benfica coach Jorge Jesus made it clear that the winger would not feature in his plans this season. Cavaleiro will now join the newly-promoted Spanish side until the end of the season, and will hope to build on a positive 2013/2014 season, which saw him debut both for Benfica’s first team and the Portuguese National Team. He will join fellow countrymen Diogo Salomao, Henrique Sereno, and Luisinho.
In a bizarre move, Bernardo Silva has joined Monaco on loan from Benfica for the entire season. A very talented prospect for the future, Silva was expected to leave Benfica on loan this season, after clearly outgrowing his spot on the B team. It comes as a bit of a surprise that Silva has joined Monaco, who have established themselves as one of the strongest teams in France at the moment. Bernardo Silva will likely be used in roughly the same position as James Rodriguez, who departed Monaco last month in a big-money move to Real Madrid. There’s no way to predict how much playing time Silva will receive, having not before competed for a position in a first team. But with fellow Portuguese Leonardo Jardim at the helm at the French club, anything can happen. Bernardo Silva will join fellow countrymen Joao Moutinho and Ricardo Carvalho, as well as the aforementioned Leonardo Jardim.
With the transfer window to close shut in a little under a month and with managers looking to complete their squads as quickly as possible, there is no lack of transfer news. Here’s the latest:
Josue to leave Porto, but where to?
After spending only one season at Porto, Josue looks set to leave after it was revealed that he does not fit into Julien Lopetegui’s plans. A departure looks likely, with the midfielder not even present at the squad presentation. Porto are looking to sell the player, with a fee of 6 million euros reported to be their asking price. Lazio and Napoli are both said to be interested in the midfielder, but more recently, newly-promoted french side Metz are touted to be his destination.
Sunderland interested in Frederico Venancio
Following Vitoria Setubal’s 0-0 pre-season draw with Premier League team Sunderland, Frederico Venancio gained the praise of the English team’s coach. Gus Poyet said after the game that he was impressed with Venancio, who is entering his third full season in Setubal.
Deportivo looking to build a Portuguese contingent
Newly-promoted La Liga side Deportivo are reportedly very interested in taking both Tiago Ilori and Ivan Cavaleiro on loan from Liverpool and Benfica, respectively. Ilori appears to be surplus to requirements at Liverpool this season, especially since the arrival of Croatian defender Dejan Lovren. Cavaleiro is also set to be loaned, with Pacos Ferreira, Academica, and Maritimo all interested in the winger’s services.
Hugo Almeida still without a club
Following his release from Besiktas, Hugo Almeida is still without a club. The experienced Portuguese striker, who has found success in both Germany and Turkey, will surely find a club, but the question remains as to which one. Eintracht Frankfurt and Galatasaray have both been touted as possible destinations, and West Ham is the latest club to show interest in the striker.
Lica joins Rayo Vallecano on loan for the season
Rayo Vallecano has taken Porto winger Lica on loan for the entire season after he was deemed to be surplus to requirements under new coach Julien Lopetegui. Much like Josue, Lica’s future at Porto looks increasingly dim, and it comes as little surprise that this loan was arranged.
Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb announced today the capture of Sporting winger Wilson Eduardo on loan for the entire season, further adding to an already sizable Portuguese contingent at the club. Eduardo, whose brother Joao Mario will be on Sporting’s first team this season, will join on loan for the entire season, and can be purchased at any time by Dinamo. Eduardo will join fellow countrymen Eduardo, Paulo Machado, Ivo Pinto, Goncalo Santos, and Ruben Lima at the Balkan club, and will hope to gain more playing time than if he was at Sporting.
Always considered a prospect for the future, many will feel that Wilson Eduardo hasn’t really fulfilled his potential, though many will agree that he is still a handy player for most teams. After a prolific spell in Sporting’s youth teams, Eduardo was loaned to various teams in Portugal for the next four seasons. He found varied levels of success with top-flight clubs such as Academica and Olhanense, and as a result of these solid performances, he was recalled to a new-look Sporting side last season. Despite largely playing a bit-part role in the club’s success, Eduardo still managed 20 appearances and three goals. This season, Eduardo has been deemed surplus to requirements, most likely because of the emergence of Carlos Mane, who is much younger and has more room for growth. Now, Wilson Eduardo will fly away to Croatia, and who knows? Maybe this loan is exactly what he needs.
Some players come into the spotlight because of playing for a big club. Their performances may not be any more noteworthy than other players’, but they continue to get press recognition because of the club that they play for. As a result, there are sometimes players whose solid performances fly under the radar; players who do not get as much hype. In Portugal, there has become a domination from teams known as “The Big Three.” Made up of Sporting, Benfica, and Porto, the “Big Three” has not been as clearly defined in recent seasons (Pacos Ferreira finished third in 2012/2013, Braga has risen to prominence, as has Estoril). This past season, however, “The Big Three” were back again with Benfica finishing 1st, Sporting 2nd, and Porto 3rd. As stated above, players from clubs outside of the “Big Three” in Portugal sometimes don’t really rise to prominence until they earn a move to one of the “Big Three” or abroad. That’s not to say their performances aren’t worthy of recognition. So, Portugal Football has decided to list the…
Top 5 Under-24 Liga Zon Sagres Players from the 2013/2014 Season…Outside the “Big Three”
1. Joao Mario – Vitoria Setubal (on loan from Sporting Lisbon)
The very fact that Joao Mario tops our list despite only spending half of a season at Vitoria Setubal says a lot. A center midfielder by trade, Mario is widely regarded as one of Portugal’s top prospects. In his 15 league appearances for Setubal, Mario helped his team to notable draws against Benfica and Sporting, and played a large role in the team’s impressive season. His performances were impressive enough to earn him a starting spot with the Portuguese Under-21 team and a role in Sporting’s first team for this season.
2. Andre Andre – Vitoria Guimaraes
The oldest on our list, Andre Andre has become an irreplaceable part of Rui Vitoria’s side. Andre has garnered attention abroad from his performances this season, and it comes as no surprise. The center midfielder made 37 appearances in all competitions, leading the team through a campaign both in the Liga Zon Sagres and the Europa League. Dinamo Zagreb are said to be interested in Andre, but if he gets another solid season under his belt, there will likely be larger clubs interested.
3. Bebe – Pacos Ferreira (on loan from Manchester United)
Bebe was the laughing stock of English football after his ill-fated move from Vitoria Guimaraes to Manchester United in 2010. And to a certain extent, he still is. But not in Portugal. Bebe was on loan this season at Pacos Ferreira from Manchester United. Though the side struggled, barely managing to avoid relegation, Bebe shone. The Manchester United man struck 12 times for the team in only 27 appearances. These statistics are even more impressive when you consider that he scored these from his primary position out wide. His scoring exploits made him the highest scoring Portuguese player in the league last season, and Manchester United have opted to take him on their pre-season tour most likely as a result of his performances. But Manchester United will have to fend off interest from Benfica, who are reportedly very interested in acquiring his services.
4. Ricardo Horta – Vitoria Setubal
Last season was possibly the best debut season Ricardo Horta could have hoped for. A product of both Benfica’s and Vitoria Setubal’s youth setups, Horta was promoted to Setubal’s first team this season. After impressive performances early in the season, Horta was awarded a starting spot and never looked back. Finishing the season with seven goals in 34 appearances on the wing, Horta was named to the Portuguese Under-20 team’s Toulon Tournament squad, scoring the deciding goal in the third place match against England. Malaga are said to be very interested and extremely close to signing the player, and it comes as no surprise. And he’s only 19!
5. Danilo Pereira – Maritimo
A product of Benfica’s famed youth academy, Danilo Pereira first rose to prominence at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup, where he performed admirably in Portugal’s midfield, helping them to a second place finish. A move abroad ensued, and after some more spells abroad, Pereira ended up at Maritimo last season. Pereira appeared 28 times for the Madeira-based club, helping them to a mid-table finish. His performances drew the interest of Sporting, who many speculate see him as the natural successor to William Carvalho.
Porto midfielder Antonio Jose Pinheiro Carvalho, more commonly referred to as “Toze“, has joined Liga Zon Sagres side Estoril from Porto on a two-season loan deal. Speculation on Toze’s future had been building ever since the season ended, and the midfielder was heavily linked to Estoril following the announcement of Porto’s purchase of Estoril’s Evandro. Following the sale of Carlitos from Estoril to Sion, Toze’s loan deal was arranged, and the midfielder will join the team immediately.
Estoril have had two fairy-tale seasons back-to-back. After being promoted after the 2011-2012 season, Estoril finished their first season in the top flight in almost a decade at an impressive 5th place. They improved upon that success with an even more impressive 4th place finish last season. The mastermind behind the revival was their young coach Marco Silva, who was promptly signed by Sporting Lisbon this off-season. Though they lost their talismanic leader, there is still much hope for the future. Jose Couceiro has taken charge. Couceiro is a hugely experienced coach, having spent time in Turkey, Russia, and Lithuania coaching before returning to Portugal last season to take charge at Vitoria Setubal. In his only season in Setubal, Couceiro led the team to an impressive 7th place finish, their best finish since the 2007-2008 season. A large amount of his success was due to his penchant for thrifty transfers. Striker Rafael Martins was signed on loan at the beginning of the season, and was a virtual unknown. By the end of the season, Martins had scored 15 league goals and was attracting serious interest from clubs such as Porto and Benfica. Couciero also has very few qualms about playing young, raw talent. Last season at Vitoria Setubal, Couceiro boldly gave Ricardo Horta a starting spot on the left wing. By the end of the season, Horta had established himelf as one of the team’s finest assets, and was according attracting interest from Benfica.
With a proven tactician in charge this season at Estoril in the form of Jose Couceiro, the team’s future looks bright. Toze will join the team to fill the voids opened following the departures of Carlitos and Evandro. With spots open in the team, Toze’s chance at playing time looks promising. And with a two-year loan deal, the midfielder has ample time to show what he’s worth and to develop into the player that Porto believes he can become.
Manchester City wonderkid Rony Lopes, also known as Marcos Lopes, has joined Lille on a one-year loan deal. Still only 18, Lopes’ impressive performances for Manchester City’s U19 team, which he captained, earned him some time in City’s first team last season. Though only confined to a handful of matches in the League Cup and the FA Cup, Lopes impressed greatly. In the FA Cup tie against West Ham, many would argue that Lopes was Manchester City’s best player, assisting two goals. Not only has he made a name for himself at City, but Lopes is making waves in Portugal’s youth teams. Currently captain of Portugal’s U-19 team, he will lead the team into this summer’s UEFA U-19 European Championship. And it won’t be the first time either. Lopes played in all four of Portugal’s matches last summer, as the team was knocked out in the semifinals of last year’s edition by eventual winners Serbia. Having already made an appearance for the Portugal U-21 team at only 18, Lopes has shown that he is playing on a different level than most his age.
So, in order to provide more playing time and thus more opportunity for development, Manchester City is shipping Rony Lopes off to France. The loan is set to last all season, and with Lille finishing third last season, Champions League football is a possibility, provided they progress through the qualifying rounds. It is not announced whether the loan will have an option for Lille to purchase Lopes, but that seems very unlikely, due to his huge potential. Manchester City certainly don’t want him to go. And Lopes seems very excited about the possibility of playing regularly for a team, saying he is “eager to work hard and return stronger next year!” Here’s his full tweet:
According to sources coming out of Portugal, Daniel Carrico has signed for Sevilla, after the club met his release clause of 1.8 million euros from Reading. The defender had been on loan from the English club for the entirety of last season, and after some impressive performances, Sevilla decided to make the move a permanent one. Now, Carrico can look to the future and attempt to put a nightmare-ish last two seasons behind him. Initially touted as Portugal’s golden boy when he burst onto the scene at Sporting during the 2008-2009 season, Carrico became a victim of Sporting’s fall from grace. Loss of favor from Sporting’s managers coupled with injury meant that Carrico has found it tough until recently. At Sevilla this past season, though, Carrico has flourished as the side impressed in La Liga and were eventual champions of the Europa League. It will be interesting to see if this move helps Carrico’s chances of playing for the National Team.
Sporting Lisbon announced their fifth signing of the off season yesterday with the presentation of Andre Geraldes from Istanbul BB. Sporting has been the most active Portuguese team in the current transfer window thus far, and the right-back is sure to not be the last signing. According to sources, Geraldes was signed to provide competition for Cedric Soares at the right-back position. The defender has joined on a 5-year deal for an undisclosed amount and a 45 million euro buyout clause, as is common with Portuguese teams.
Andre Geraldes began his career at Rio Ave, where he gained notoriety while on loan at Aves in the Portuguese second division. Though he never managed a first-team appearance for Rio Ave, he was transferred to Turkish first division side Istanbul BB, coached by fellow Portuguese Carlos Carvalhal. After 30 impressive appearances in his debut season for the Turkish club, Geraldes was loaned to struggling Liga Zon Sagres side Belenenses for the second half of this past season. 12 appearances later, his performances caught the attention of league runners-up Sporting Lisbon, who have promptly snapped him up on a 5-year deal.
This move raises more questions than it answers. Miguel Lopes, who is one of Sporting Lisbon’s top earners (and also a right-back) is returning from a season-long loan at French side Lyon. Though Lopes battled with injuries, he performed admirably when he was fit, establishing himself as an important first team player. It was announced that Lopes would join Sporting on their pre-season tour, which can be taken to mean that he could be staying with the club next season. If he indeed does stay, the team will have three very competent right-backs in Cedric, Geraldes, and Lopes. One will surely have to be loaned out or sold.
There have been very few transfer rumors surrounding Cedric, but his performances last season will surely have caught the attention of other clubs. Could he be the one who leaves? Or will Miguel Lopes depart once again on loan?