The world has certainly seen more enthralling transfer windows, as the clock ticked down with a whimper on Tuesday night across all relevant leagues.
Action in Portugal followed that trend, in particular within the remits of the traditional ‘Big Three’, so often habitual players in windows gone by.
There was, nonetheless, a good volume of activity to take note in and around those rooting for the top end of the Liga NOS table. Here’s a round-up of the ins and outs.
For the league leaders, the window promised to leave them without Swedish starlet Victor Lindelöf, as Manchester United reportedly closed in on the defender, but the Eagles cashed in on another talent instead.
At a fee close to €30 million, Gonçalo Guedes landed in France to sign for Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain. An extra €15 million came Benfica’s way after Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers took the opportunity to nail Hélder Costa to a permanent deal, whereas a certain Ola John wasn’t so impressive, returning to Portugal before being farmed back out to Deportivo de La Coruña on loan instead.
Speaking of loans, one player who won’t be floating in and out of Lisbon any longer is Filip Đuričić, used as bait in a deal with Sampdoria that sees the highly-rated Portuguese full back Pedro Pereira bolster Benfica’s defence for an undisclosed fee.
On the other flank, Marcelo Hermes joins on a free transfer from Grêmio to reinforce Rui Vitória’s left side of defence, whereas his compatriot, Filipe Augusto, completed a temporary switch from Rio Ave.
Elsewhere, the Lisbon outfit were reduced to repositioning many of their fringe players throughout the window, starting with one of the latest loan switches that sees the highly-regarded playmaker, João Carvalho, join Vitória de Setúbal on loan.
Brazilian outcast Luis Filipe follows Carvalho by the same token to the ‘Sadinos’, whereas Guillermo Celis completes his temporary switch to Vitória de Guimarães.
The injury-ravaged Pelé will back Feirense’s colours for the remainder of the season, meanwhile both Oscar Benitez and Bryan Cristante were both recalled from their loan deals before being shipped back out to Boca Juniors and Serie A side Atalanta, respectively.
Benfica also took the opportunity to call time on Danilo Barbosa’s temporary spell with the club, as the Brazilian signed on to Standard Liege’s books on loan from Braga, reserving the last mention to the enigmatic Adel Taarabt, who joined Genoa on a free transfer this January.
No new signings for Sporting, contrary to what many fans would’ve hoped for after a handful of sub-par performances, but the Lions did at least move to oust much of the deadwood acquired during the summer.
In his second spell with the club, Brazilian midfielder Elias proved to be just as unpopular and commanded the biggest fee when sold to Atlético Mineiro for little more than €3 million.
The much-maligned Lazar Markovic was sent packing back to England, as Liverpool arranged for a loan switch to Marco Silva’s Hull City instead, whereas the winger’s compatriot, Radosav Petrovic, was unable to secure a move away from the Alvalade and had to settle for a loan deal with Rio Ave instead in the final hours of the transfer window.
Out of favour, Marcelo Meli also said his goodbyes to Portugal, rescinding his loan with Sporting to join Racing Club back in Argentina, meanwhile João Pereira was picked up by Turkish outfit Trabzonspor for nothing.
After starring in Moreirense’s historic Taça da Liga cup run, Francisco Geraldes and Daniel Podence have received call-ups from their parent club in a bid to help reconstruct their season, joining João Palhinha under similar circumstances.
Sporting compensated Moreirense for their loss by ceding Ary Papel on loan and Wallyson on a free transfer, following a less than successful spell in Belgium with Standard Liege.
As for the two players caught in the very public crossfire between the Lions and Vitória de Setúbal, Ryan Gauld and André Geraldes, the pair will remain in Lisbon despite proposed switches to Chaves.
Much attention has centred itself around Francisco ‘Tiquinho’ Soares over the past week, joining FC Porto for €3.5 million from Vitória de Guimarães after hitting seven league goals since the start of the season, but the northern outfit also have another name to look forward to.
After a lengthy period on loan in Brazil, Nuno Espírito Santo has placed much faith in the recall of league title hero Kelvin, who’s already donned the club’s colours since returning.
Much like Benfica and Sporting before them, the rest of the activity has been dedicated to general housekeeping, as Porto amassed eight outgoings.
The Former Portugal international, Silvestre Varela, agreed to terminate his current deal with the Liga NOS hopefuls before signing for Kayserispor, whereas Evandro landed a deal with Hull in the Premier League for £2 million.
Sérgio Oliveira’s inability to crack the Porto set-up has been clear and so the midfielder now joins his namesake compatriot and FC Nantes boss, Sérgio Conceição, on loan until the end of the season.
Porto’s Alberto Bueno, who called it quits with Granada, soon found a new temporary home with Leganes on loan, with Adrián López re-joining La Liga outfit Villarreal in much the same vein, but Suk Hyun-Jun wasn’t to be as fortunate.
The South Korean striker returned to the Dragons from a spell in Turkey in hope of landing a deadline day switch to Bastia, but the deal failed to materialise in time with the countdown.
Other departures include Sinan Bolat to Arouca, Abdoulaye Ba to 1860 Munich and Juan Quintero to Independiente Medellín, all on a temporary basis.
The big surprise down the Quarry was without a doubt the arrival of the once highly-rated Federico Cartabia, who joins Sporting de Braga on loan until the end of the season.
Now 24, the playmaker was once referred to as a future star for the Argentine national team in his younger days at Valencia, but the troubled Spanish club agreed to rescind his contract and allow Cartabia to join Deportivo for free, who agreed to let him join Braga soon after.
The ‘Arsenalistas’ also saw Xeka, often on the fringes of the first team this season, make up part of a mad trolley dash at Lille throughout Tuesday, joining the Ligue 1 side for a fee that could see Braga cash in up to €6 million, should they make the midfielder’s loan deal permanent.
The Champions League hopefuls also moved quickly to land Maritimo duo Fransérgio and Dyego Souza, but the pair will only officially join the club at the start of next season.
Vitória de Guimarães
Having lost Soares to Porto, Pedro Martins’ side turned to Fábio Sturgeon from Belenenses for an undisclosed fee and the striker will also be joined by ex-Moreirense forward Rafael Martins, touching down in Portugal for free after representing Levante.
For a fee in the region of €1.5 million, João Pedro chose life in the MLS with LA Galaxy over a potential move to FC Porto after almost 12 years at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques.
The Liga NOS mainstay could well have had their fair share of success in the January transfer window, after backing Sporting’s Petrovic with a loan deal.
The club’s good connections with AS Monaco and super-agent Jorge Mendes facilitated a loan deal for the exciting midfield talent that is Adama Traoré, who’ll link up with Porto’s Gonçalo Paciência after a less than satisfactory time in Greece with Olympiakos.
Locked in mid-table, Estoril have called on a much-revered name around these parts of Greater Lisbon, as Licá returns to the place where he made his name via a loan move from Nottingham Forest.
The yellows will also cover themselves in the relative experience up top provided by André Claro, who joins Estoril for an undisclosed fee after two seasons with Vitória de Setúbal.
Grabbing themselves a potential coup, the historic Primeira Liga outfit placed their faith in the signing of former Portugal Under-21 player and Sporting academy graduate Edgar Ié on a free transfer, who also has Barcelona and Villarreal on his CV at the age of 22.
Diogo Viana, once dubbed ‘the new Ricardo Quaresma’, also strengthens this Belenenses side, joining on deadline day from CSKA Sofia for an undisclosed fee, whereas Maurides, brother of ex-Porto defender Maicon, completes the Lisbon outfit’s winter shopping.
By Patrick Ribeiro