Brazilian left-back Alex Sandro has traded the blue and white of Futebol Clube de Porto for the white and black of Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus after four years in the north of Portugal.
Porto receive €26 million for the transfer, which brings their summer income from transfers to over €100 million – a club record for one transfer window.
More worryingly for Porto fans, it brings the number of departures of key players from last season’s side to six: Jackson Martínez, Danilo, Óliver Torres, Casemiro, Ricardo Quaresma, and now Sandro.
Porto coach Julen Lopetegui wished the defender all the best at his new club and when asked about the players that have left the club he responded: “I’m not going to cry about it. I’m going to work hard to make sure Porto are tremendously competitive and win trophies.”
No smoke without fire
Rumours about Sandro’s move had rumbled on all summer, with the club failing in its repeated attempts to get him to sign a contract renewal. Offers had reportedly been rejected from the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid, but when the former Santos player was absent from Porto’s training ground in Olival on Wednesday it became clear the latest reports of a switch to Turin were well founded.
The news was therefore not a bolt out of the blue, especially considering earlier in the month president Pinto da Costa had sanctioned the acquisition of former left-back Aly Cissokho on loan from Aston Villa.
Sandro moved to Porto from Santos along with now Real Madrid full-back Danilo in 2011 for a €10.3 million fee, pinned as Vitor Pereira’s future left-back in place of Cristian Sapunaru and Álvaro Pereira after Andre Villas Boas’ Europa League triumph the previous season.
International caps an incentive
Brazil coach Dunga had spoken about the potential move in recent days. “Competing in the Champions League with a big club like that will help him mature in terms of the national team,” said the former World Cup winner. “Alex Sandro is a player worthy of Juventus, and I think an experience with a top Serie A club will make him even more complete.”
More opportunities in the Brazilian national team was certainly an incentive for Sandro, who has made six appearances for his country. Dunga’s opinion, together with a far higher salary, no doubt weighed heavily in the player’s decision. Sandro will compete with the likes of Filipe Luis and Marcelo for a spot in the Brazil starting XI, as well as taking Patrice Evra’s mantle at Juventus.
Juventus, who won the Italian league and cup double last season and reached the Champions League final, losing to Barcelona, open the 2015/16 season at home to Udinese on Sunday.
By Mitchell Rua & Tom Kundert