After months of speculation regarding his future, Luis Neto has finally made the move away from Siena. A number of teams were reportedly interested in signing the defender, including Juventus, Roma, Dinamo Moscow, and Fenerbahce. Neto, however, has chosen to move to the snow-covered fields of Russia to meet up with fellow countrymen Bruno Alves and Danny at Zenit St. Petersburg. The Russian season has not yet begun, as the country is gripped by a bitter winter. If Neto can replicate the form that earned him plaudits at Siena, he will have no problem holding down a starting spot at Zenit. The price? 6 million Euros.
According to SC Braga’s website, Emidio Rafael has joined the club from Porto until the end of the season. At the end of the season, there is an option in the player’s contract for the club to extend the deal for a further three years. Rafael enjoyed success at Academica under Andre Villas-Boas during the 2009-2010 season, and when Boas began coaching at Porto the following season, Emidio was one of his first purchases. It was expected that Rafael would play second-fiddle to Alvaro Pereira. In the few appearances Emidio made for the club, he impressed, so much so that he was pre-selected for the Portugal National Team. A horrific injury to his foot, however, sidelined him for the rest of the 2010-2011 season, and another injury kept him out for the entire 2011-2012 season, as Porto lifted the trophy for the second year in a row. Now, Braga have taken a chance with the defender; a chance that may pay off.
Beira-Mar midfielder Rui Sampaio has completed a 600,000 euro move to Serie A side Cagliari Calcio. Sampaio, who had been at Beira-Mar since 2008, has joined up with his teammates for training. Sampaio played for a total of 85 times for Beira-Mar, and was arguably one of their most consistent performers last season, as the club succeeded in retaining top-flight status.
Following his impressive displays for Portugal at the recent Under-20 World Cup, Pele has made the switch to A.C. Milan. Genoa snapped him up in the off-season, but Milan have now acquired half of his rights and get to use him next season. Pele played over 600 minutes for Portugal at the recent U-20 World Cup, and formed a solid partnership with Danilo Pereira. Those performances have caught the eye of the Italian champions, and Pele looks set to become a Milan player shortly. There is no mention of the move on Milan’s website, but sources all across Portugal are confirming it.
Fernando Meira has completed his move from Russian powerhouse Zenit to La Liga strugglers Real Zaragoza. Meira has found playing time very hard to come by at the Russian club, especially upon the arrival of compatriot Bruno Alves. Fernando had been linked with a number of clubs, most notably Juventus, but the moves never materialized. The central defender will now ply his trade in Spain as he attempts to end his career on a high note.
Belenenses midfielder, Pele, has reportedly sealed a deal that will see him move to Genoa at the end of the season. A current Portugal U-20 international, Pele had been in talks with Genoa earlier this season, but nothing more had been reported. Now, according to reports coming out of Italy, the Italian club has tied down the promising midfielder on a 5-year deal. The midfielder tried to style his play after English legend, Steven Gerrard. Belenenses are currently sitting in the relegation zone in Portugal’s second division, after being relegated from the Liga Sagres last season.
Besiktas have announced the signing of Portuguese winger, Simao, from Atletico Madrid. There has been speculation over Simao’s future at Atletico, and Besiktas have silenced that with a 900,000 Euro deal. He will join on a two-and-a-half year deal, which will keep him at the club through the 2012-2013 season. Simao joined Atletico from Benfica in 2007, and has enjoyed great amounts of success at the Spanish team, easily being one of their most consistent performers. Simao has a Europa League and a UEFA Super Cup to his name, so he will now join fellow Portuguese Quaresma at the Turkish capital. No more news has come out of the Manuel Fernandes deal to Besiktas. Although he has passed his medical, it has not officially been announced. Simao will no-doubt keep up his level of performance from Atletico, and since the Turkish league is less competitive than the Spanish league, his level of performance may be raised.
Former CSKA Sofia striker Rui Miguel has signed for Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock. Miguel terminated his contract with CSKA Sofia earlier in the summer. “It’s a new experience in a different country and environment. The conditions that I had are great. The Scottish league has a fantastic climate and a lot of visibility. I’m very motivated and excited,” said Rui Miguel, who will join fellow compatriot David Silva at the Scottish Club.
Raul Meireles has been confirmed (through the Portuguese stock market) as a Liverpool player. Yesterday, the terms between Porto had been finished, which only left Meireles to agree personal terms, which he did. The transfer comes to a grand total of 13 million euros plus bonuses. That is considerably lower than the 25 million Porto had hoped to get for him, but with the bonuses, 13 million may climb. Meireles is viewed as the ideal replacement for the now-departed Javier Mascherano. Raul will most likely be playing a more defensive role in the midfield, giving Gerrard the opportunity to play more as an attacking midfielder/second striker. Competing against him for this defensive midfielder spot are the likes of Poulsen and Lucas, so he has a mountain to climb.
Sporting center-back, Tonel, has signed for Croatian outfit Dinamo Zagreb. With the purchase and emergence of Nuno Coelho, and with Carrico having cemented his place in the starting eleven, Tonel would have found it hard to find playing time for the Lions. So, no doubt with some encouragement by Sporting coach Paulo Sergio, Tonel decided that moving was his only chance for playing time. Tonel pledged “hard work” and said: “I am eager to start training and playing”