Former Portuguese international, Ricardo, has signed for Liga Zon Sagres side Vitoria Setubal for one season. Negotiations had been going on for some time, and the deal was finally agreed. Ricardo spent the last half of last season at Leicester City, in the Championship, England’s second division. The goalkeeper did well, amassing eleven appearances, but the club chose not to lengthen his contract. His contract ended, and he has since been looking for a new club. Ricardo will now return to Portugal, a place he hasn’t played in since 2007.
According to reports coming out of Spain, Benfica and Real Madrid have come to agreement for the sale of Fabio Coentrao to Real Madrid this summer. Evidently, Benfica will reject all other offers for the winger. In return, Real will pay Benfica 30 million euros for the player. Just Monday, Liverpool were said to be close to sealing a move for Coentrao, but now, it looks as if Real Madrid have stepped in front of them. Coentrao was one of the Seleccao’s stand-out performers at this past summer’s World Cup, and has since attracted the interest from Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, just to name a few.
Real Madrid central defender, Pepe, is reportedly a transfer target for Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Barcelona, after contract discussions have slowed. Pepe wants his current salary to be more-than tripled to a 6 million euro per year deal. Real is only willing to offer him five, so the negotiations have stalled. Manchester United are looking for an experienced replacement for the injury-prone Rio Ferdinand. Manchester City are interested in everyone at the moment, but the citizens may be one of the only clubs that can meet him financial demands. Pepe has been at the heart of the Real Madrid defense this season, forging an iron-clad partnership with Ricardo Carvalho. With Pepe’s contract set to expire in 2012, it may be the time for him to leave.
Hugo Almeida, who is currently locked in contract negotiations at Werder Bremen, is reportedly ‘proud’. Almeida has not been contacted by the club, according to him, but he is still proud, nevertheless, of the interest. Real are searching for a replacement for Higuain, who will be out injured for some time. Panathinaikos and Lazio are also interested.
Former Porto, Werder Bremen, and Juventus midfielder Diego has laid heaps of praise on Portugal National Team and Werder Bremen striker Hugo Almeida. Diego, who currently plays for Wolfsburg, is glad that Almeida is not to play when Wolfsburg and Bremen meet this weekend. “Hugo Almeida is one of the best strikers in the league,” stated the Brazilian. Almeida is currently under speculation regarding a move away from Bremen this winter, with Lazio, Juventus, and Real Madrid all interested.
Despite it being quite far away from any transfer window, the rumors are still heating up. So, here are the major stories:
1. Ruben Pinto Tracked by Arsenal
The Portuguese Under-19 captain is currently being tracked by Premier League giants Arsenal. Pinto, who models his style of play after Rui Costa, has recently turned down other offers to the Premier League. He has, however, a contract tying him down to Benfica until 2012, so a move probably won’t be likely. Ruben has fancied a move to the Premier League for some time now, and with his heroics against Spain in this last Euro U-19 tournament, maybe that move can finally happen.
2. Milan Keeping Tabs on Coentrao and Periera
Italian giants A.C. Milan are allegedly watching Portuguese National Team fullbacks Joao Pereira and Fabio Coentrao. Coentrao was a bright spot in Portugal’s muddy World Cup campaign, and has since become a vital player for Benfica. He currently is tied to Benfica with a release clause of 30 million pounds. Joao Pereira moved from Braga to Sporting Lisbon earlier this year, and has since impressed enough to earn a call-up to the National Team.
3. Juventus in Miguel Veloso Swap Deal
Juventus are supposedly making a deal with Genoa for the trade of Sissoko and Miguel Veloso. The deal would see Miguel Veloso leave Genoa, who he joined in the summer, and meet up with Juventus, who was tracking him earlier this year. I do not foresee this move happening.
4. Pedro Marques to Make Portugal Switch
Real Madrid C midfielder Pedro Marques is reportedly being watched by Olhanense. Olhanense are currently third in the Liga Zon Sagres, having enjoyed an impressive start to their second consecutive season in the Portuguese top-flight. Marques has been playing in Spain for some time now, but it has been speculated that Olhanense want his services.
5. Chelsea Want Pepe in 2012
Following Pepe’s statement that he plans to leave Real Madrid in 2012 whan his contract is up, Chelsea have come out and said that they want him for free in 2012. Pepe has been rock-solid in his partnership with Ricardo Carvalho not only at Real Madrid, but also for the Seleccao.
Porto full-back Miguel Lopes will spend the rest of the 2010-2011 season in the Spanich second-tier with Real Betis. Lopes, who impressed for Rio Ave in the 2008-2009 season, was quickly snapped up by Liga powerhouse FC Porto. He has since found playing time hard to come by, with Fucile and Sapunaru more established players. When Emidio Rafael was bought this summer, Lopes must have realized that it was time to try elsewhere. Lopes will be the only Portuguese player playing for Betis this season, after it was announced that Ricardo had not made the first team, and Nelson was to be loaned out to Osasuna.
Portuguese right-back Nelson has been loaned from Real Betis to Osasuna for the 2010-2011 season, with an option to buy for 6 million at the end of the season. Nelson moved form Benfica to Real Betis in 2008, and hasn’t enjoyed a great time of it after Betis was relegated in his debut season. The next season (last season), Betis failed to win promotion back into the Spanish top-flight. Nelson has played quite a bit, but he hasn’t lived up to the reputation he had at Benfica. He had previously spoken about his hopeful move away form the club (Real Betis), and it now looks as if that deal has come true, subject to paperwork getting where it is supposed to be.
Ricardo Carvalho has all but completed an 8-million dollar transfer from English champions Chelsea to Spaniash runners-up Real Madrid. Carvalho, who has been at Chelsea since 2004, is on the verge of a transfer to the Bernabeu. The Portuguese international was nurtured as a center-back under the Mourinho-era at Porto, where he won almost everything from the Portuguese League to the UEFA Cup to the Champions League. When Mourinho left for Chelsea, he made it a point to bring Carvalho to Stamford Bridge. There he became a regular in the first team, cementing a reputation as one of the top defenders playing in the Premier League. After the emergence of Alex, Carvalho found it more difficult to find playing time. So, when Mourinho, who had already left, moved again to Real Madrid, he made it a point to grab the defender.
Earlier this season, Pepe recieved some knee ligament damage, supposedly rendering him unfit for the rest of the season for Real Madrid, and for the World Cup finals with Portual.After hearing yesterday that Bosingwa will miss the World Cup due to injury, I(and most others) thought the worst: no Pepe and no Bosingwa. However, the surgeon that operated on Pepe stated today that he thinks that Pepe will be fit for the World Cup finals. The surgeon, Jose Carlos Noronha, spoke to Marca, saying:”His recuperation is going perfectly and I’ve noticed the player is in good spirits”, and “I’m optimistic he’ll be fit for the World Cup finals in South Africa. By June he’ll be in good physical condition.”