With one of the summer's major transfer sagas finally over after João Félix completed his big-money move to Altetico Madrid, Portuguese champions Benfica can now prepare for the new campaign with clarity after the departure of their young star.

Raúl De Tomás, Chiquinho, Jhonder Cádiz and Caio have all joined the Eagles ranks ahead of the new campaign, and PortuGOAL takes a closer look at the arrivals and assesses the impact of this summer's business on Bruno Lage's side.

 

 

Félix departs

The inevitable has occurred, João Félix has left Lisbon in search of a new adventure, choosing the Rojiblanco of Atlético de Madrid as his new home. The João Félix debate has dominated the entirety of the window so far, bringing with it a multitude of linked clubs and of course the question marks over his price and whether the deal represents good value for a potential suitor.

However, now the deal is done we can opt to deal in facts and not speculation. Benfiquistas, as frustrated as they may initially be over the transfer, have received somewhere in the sum of €126 million for a wonderfully talented but inexperienced player. The 19-year-old has just 26 Primeira Liga appearances to his name, but his contribution during the 2018/19 season, scoring 15 and assisting 9, was enough to convince Los Colchoneros that he is the right man to lead Atléti into the new decade and beyond.

For Benfica, €126 million is a huge sum of money to receive, especially for a Primeira Liga outfit and it is important to remember that while the loss of Félix is disappointing, it is not devastating. Lage is currently in the process of building an outstanding young squad, with numerous players committing their long-term futures to the club with new deals. The efficiency of the Seixal conveyor belt, means that the next talent to emerge is never far away.

What Benfica have to do now is look to the players they possess and continue to negotiate well in the transfer market in preparation for the coming campaign. Big changes in any transfer window inevitably leads to quesiton marks, and only time will tell if the Portuguese champions made the right decisions regarding the sale of Félix and their incoming transfers. This is also true when you play idn poker. You can experience turbulence along the way.

The confirmed signings

I will begin with the arrival of Raúl De Tomás, the transfer with the biggest outlay and also the transfer I am most excited about. In Raúl De Tomás, Benfica are receiving an incredibly talented forward with a real striker’s instinct. He has great positional awareness and uses this to exploit space within the box. Last season in La Liga, De Tomás was loaned from parent club Real Madrid to strugglers Rayo Vallecano, in the end Vallecano finished rock bottom and his goals were not enough, however the performances of De Tomas captivated the Vallecano supporters. In 33 La Liga appearances, he scored 14 goals and assisted 1, impressive numbers given the calibre of player he was playing with and the fact that for most games, Vallecano went in as the lesser side.

At Benfica, Raúl has the chance to play with better quality team mates who will be looking forward to feeding him. As Benfica tend to dominate Primeira Liga matches, chances will be plentiful, as opposed to his time at Vallecano. If he can adjust quickly to the change in league, which I don’t think will be an issue, is patient for his chances and gels with his new team mates, I think his career at Benfica can be long and fruitful. €20 million is a lot, especially for a Portuguese side, but in 2019 the deal represents good value for Benfica when you consider the significant contributions he made, in one of the best leagues in the world.

In Chiquinho, Benfica have acquired a talent that is still just 23 and gives them another option in the attacking midfield department. 8 goals and 7 assists from his position for Moreirense in 2018/19 campaign show that he has end product for all of his technical talent. At 1.74m (5”7’) he has a fairly low centre of gravity that allows him to swiftly manoeuvre with the ball, it will be interesting to see the first team chances he gets at Benfica. At times he will have to remain patient, but he is undoubtedly talented and at just a reported €3.75 million it seems like a great bit of business.

Jhonder Cádiz has also been confirmed by Benfica, another striker to give the attacking department that extra bit of depth. He, like Chiquinho, is still just 23 years old and knows the league well, featuring 83 times in the Primeira Liga so far in his career. He scored 9 goals and assisted 1 in 31 games for Vitória Setúbal. Not a bad return but also not clinical. At Benfica when he plays, he will get more opportunities to score given that Benfica dominate matches. Whether he will excel or not is hard to tell, so for now my judgement on Cádiz is reserved. If the young Venezuelan can take his chances, contribute with goals and assists and fit into Lage’s system, he may well be an effective squad player in Benfica’s pursuit of numerous competitions.

Lastly, Caio was also confirmed recently by Benfica. The Brazilian winger has arrived on a free from UAE club Al-Ain. Caio is a winger with pace and quick feet, at 25 years of age his career has saw him play in the UAE and also in Japan. This Is the  first time the Brazilian will have played in Europe. During his time at Al-Ain he has accumulated 23 goals and a whopping 31 assists in just 63 league games. Benfica and the Primeira Liga will pose a bigger challenge for Caio, playing against higher quality opponents. However, he is now at a great club with terrific facilities, playing in a country that speaks the same language as him and on a free transfer the deal represents little risk.

Benfica’s new signings, coupled with the ongoing extension of first-team contracts will ensure that Benfica have a squad that is more than capable of competing on all fronts next season. Lage’s aim will be to continue being smart in the market, making use of both low-value transfers and will also continue to integrate the Benfica youngsters that he knows so well, to the first team.

By Aaron Barton

Comments (6)

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Joao Felix's inclusion into the Bruno Lage's 4-4-2 in January was undoubtedly one of the major factors behind our extraordinary transformation. His production in terms of goals and assists per 90 minutes was absolutely superb, but his ability to...

Joao Felix's inclusion into the Bruno Lage's 4-4-2 in January was undoubtedly one of the major factors behind our extraordinary transformation. His production in terms of goals and assists per 90 minutes was absolutely superb, but his ability to occupy and exploit space in between the lines and combine with the likes of Seferovic, Pizzi, and Rafa was equally as important. Therefore, while I trust Lage's ability to adapt to life without Felix, It'll be interesting to see if he sticks to the 4-4-2 or decides to utilize more of a natural #10 like Chiquinho or even Pizzi.

Raul de Tomas is a fantastic signing, but from what I've watched and read, he seems to be more of a mobile #9 than a true second striker in the mold of Felix. He could theoretically play alongside Seferovic, but I fear that they may be too similar stylistically to work as a strike partnership.

I also can't wait to see our newly promoted academy products in action. Jota is perhaps the closest to winning a spot on the first team, but the likes of David and Nuno Tavares, Tiago Dantas, and Nuno Santos are also more than capable of forcing their way into Bruno Lage's plans.

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I think the title of this article is spot on, regarding the departure of Joao Felix: disappointing but certainly not devastating. The way I feel about it is that, while it's disappointing to see yet another talent sold off super quickly....on the...

I think the title of this article is spot on, regarding the departure of Joao Felix: disappointing but certainly not devastating. The way I feel about it is that, while it's disappointing to see yet another talent sold off super quickly....on the other hand, as talented as he is, Felix is certainly not worth 120 million just yet, and as such it's a great deal for the club. This will hopefully mean we won't lose any more of our most coveted players (Dias, Ferro, Grimaldo, Florentino etc) this summer. Given the size of the fee, and his utter inexperience (essentially half a Liga season and a few rounds of the Europa league), I'm not nearly as disappointed this time around as I was in the past when other talents were sold off. Felix wasn't even our most important player in that second half of last season....that was Pizzi, without a shadow of a doubt! So we will move on, and in fact I think we could have an even stronger squad next season.

What I'm most disappointed in is for the player himself, and the club he chose. The move is reminding me a lot of the Renato Sanches move, in two ways: firstly, too early (even earlier than Renato!) and he was better advised to stay a little longer at SLB to continue his development. Secondly, the wrong club. Perhaps I will be proven wrong, time will tell. But the feeling I get is that Atletico is not the best club for him. Firstly their style of play, Atletico under Simeone and Benfica under Lage, are like chalk and cheese in style of play. Atletico are an ultra defensive team, who defend all over the pitch and look to play direct on the counter attack. I doubt this is the best style of play for a creative and flair player like Felix to continue his development. Secondly, while Atletico has certainly made progress under Simeone in recent years, they are still never going to be anything more than the third team of Spain, and Barca and Madrid will always be the top two there. So I don't know, to leave the best team and biggest club in Portugal for all that money...and join the third team of Spain? I don't know if this was the best move for him. Furthermore I think at Atletico he's going to be under pressure to hit the ground running real fast. 120 million is a huge fee for Atletico and they will be expecting instant results. Big pressure on the shoulders of a teenager! I hope i'm wrong, and that it works out for him, we shall see in time.

As for Benfica, I fully expect Lage to continue with the 4-4-2 that proved so devastatingly effective last season. Felix definitely needs replacing and we have various options. Raul De Tomas looks more of a pure number 9 to me, and as such more an alternative to Seferovic. Although by all accounts he can also play second striker in a 4-4-2 as well. More realistic though would be for the club to operate a mobile support forward behind the number 9 (either Seferovic or De Tomas) just as we did last season. And we have options who could play that role: Rafa Silva, Jota, Chiquinho, for examples. I think if one of these played behind the number 9, it would resemble more of a 4-2-3-1 than a 4-4-2, but could be very effective too. I'd like to see the club recall Heriberto for next season and give him a chance in the A squad. He had a good season on loan at Moreirense, and has a flexibility that could be very useful, as he can play as a support forward, an out and out forward or on either flank. Anyway I trust in Lage, and I think that him having the whole pre-season to prepare, as opposed to last season, will be very positive for the club and hopefully we will have another successful season next year.

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Of course Joao Felix departure is devastating.
He was key to them winning the championship after being way behind in the first half of the season.

As far as I’m concerned , Joao Felix leaving
Has confirmed sporting as Campeao 2019/20.
Forca SPORT

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Right! I second that too! Benfica supporters will be calling for Lage's head by January.

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I don't understand the hype surrounding Tomás.
People are excusing his lackluster fourteen goals as a product of poor service and being on a generally bad team.
If the coaching staff at Madrid thought that he had real potential, they would've...

I don't understand the hype surrounding Tomás.
People are excusing his lackluster fourteen goals as a product of poor service and being on a generally bad team.
If the coaching staff at Madrid thought that he had real potential, they would've included him in the mix which featured the likes of Mariano Díaz. So is Diaz better? Diaz is pretty bad.
I'm just not buying, calling this one a twenty million dollar bust.

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A 19 year old kid thrown into a title chasing Atletico side? Tough situation for Felix to thrive in.

Hope it works out.

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