The Portuguese Football Federation announced this week the appointment of Fernando Santos as the Selecao’s head coach. Santos has filled the position left vacated by the departure of Paulo Bento, the team’s previous coach. Bento was known for his stubbornness, which resulted in stagnant team selections, as well as some players being exiled from the team. With Santos now in charge, there is a natural hope for a renewed team; one that is open to any player deemed worthy to represent it. Let’s take a look at what we can expect from Fernando Santos, in terms of player selection and tactics. Continue reading
Besiktas to Lokomotiv Moscow (free transfer)
Manuel Fernandes is set to move again. After starting his career in Portugal, the midfielder has played in Spain, England, and Turkey. He can now add Russia to that list, after his transfer to Russian Premier League club Lokomotiv Moscow was announced today. The midfielder was without a club after his contract with Besiktas ran out, and the Russian team were the most enticing offer. Fernandes had also been heavily linked with a move back to Benfica, the club where he began his career, but the player instead opted to stay abroad.
A player whose talent is undoubted, Fernandes has struggled for form over the past few seasons. That, coupled with injuries, meant that Fernandes’ stock has fallen greatly in the past season. After starting his career brightly at Benfica and making his debut for the national team at 19 years old, Fernandes had two stints on loan in England, first with Portsmouth then at Everton. After returning from Everton, Fernandes moved again, this time permanently to Valencia for a fee of 18 million euros. After lukewarm performances and injury problems, Fernandes signed for Besiktas for a measly 2 million euros after a successful loan spell. At Besiktas, Fernandes’ performances ranged from sublime to abysmal, and his career stagnated.
This move comes in the prime of Manuel Fernandes. Aged 28 years, many players have the most success during this time in their career. Can Fernandes prove everyone wrong? Can he finally find his prime?
Manuel Da Costa – Lokomotiv to Nacional (loan)
Portuguese central defender Manuel Da Costa has joined Liga Zon Sagres side Nacional on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow. Costa did not play in to Slaven Bilic’s first-team plans at the Russian club, and is now searching for regular playing time in Portugal, which he will undoubtedly get. Da Costa moved from West Ham in June 2011, and enjoyed a relatively successful first season at the club, most notably scoring two against Zenit.
Manuel Da Costa scored a brace in Lokomotiv Moscow’s 4-2 win over Zenit on Saturday. A Zenit side featuring Danny and Bruno Alves went into the locker room ahead 2-0 at the interval, but the game changed soon after. Obinna and Caicedo, both of whom were picked up in the off-season, scored to level the scores at 2-2. The scoreline didn’t stay that way for very long, however, as Manuel Da Costa leaped above Zenit’s goalkeeper to nod the ball into the net. Da Costa furthered Zenit’s pain when he smartly dove in for the header at the backpost from a corner kick. Such a comeback is rarely seen in football, especially against such a team as Zenit, and Manuel Da Costa will have to take some of the credit. Da Costa moved from recently-relegated West Ham to the Russian side this summer, and has since settled in just fine, as evidenced with his showing this weekend.
News keeps pouring in from across Portugal regarding transfer rumors for the next transfer window. Here’s the latest:
Werder Bremen striker Hugo Almeida is apparently in negotiations with Valencia over a proposed transfer to the Mestalla this January. Almeida, whose contract expires in January, is the ideal target for the Spanish club, who is in need of strikers. Valencia officials hope to get Almeida on a free transfer.
Let’s see…First Bayern, then Liverpool, then Chelsea, then A.C. Milan, now Barcelona. It’s no wonder that these big clubs are following the winger given his performances for Benfica and Portugal. Just think… A year and a half ago, Coentrao was a doubt to even make the Benfica first team. Now, he is a starter for the Portuguese National Team and one of Benfica’s key players. Coentrao, however, is not prepared to leave.
Vitoria Guimaraes midfielder Joao Ribeiro, who was recently called up to the National Team, is on Fulham’s wish-list. Ribeiro has been in top form for Guimaraes, and it has apparently not gone unnoticed. The midfielder is thought to be valued at around 4.5 million euros, a price that Fulham is willing to pay. Ribeiro was bought for free from Academica this summer, so a 4.5 million dollar profit doesn’t sound too bad, does it? CSKA is also apparently chasing the 22 year-old. No more information on that bit, unfortunately.