As all over Europe, a late flurry of activity just before the summer transfer window slammed shut saw significant moves for some of Portugal’s major clubs.
Benfica brought in two Brazilians they hope will play a key role in helping the club to the “penta” but lost prolific striker Mitroglou, while Sporting captain Adrien also waved goodbye to Lisbon, joining Leicester.
Braga and Boavista did some interesting business, while abroad there is significant news to report involving three Seleção players. PortuGOAL rounds up the main moves that took place during the final days of the transfer market.
After earning huge fees for the sale of goalkeeper Ederson and defenders Nelson Semedo and Vítor Lindelöf earlier in the summer, Benfica made some last-minute squad adjustments, buying highly-rated young Belgian goalkeeper Mile Svilar from Anderlecht and bringing in two big-name Brazilians on loan.
Barcelona right-back Douglas, 27 years old, comes to the Estádio da Luz as a replacement for Semedo, who moved in the opposite direction, but Benfica fans will be most excited about the signing of Gabriel Barbosa, known a ‘Gabigol’. The forward shot to fame at Santos where he was considered a wonder-kid, earning himself a big-money move to Inter Milan, but things did not turn out well for him in Italy, where he played only 10 games, scoring a single goal. Still only 21, Gabriel is a full Brazil international (4 caps, 2 goals) and will be keen to get his career back on track in the Portuguese capital. He is expected to compete for a place in the line-up with forwards Jonas, Seferovic and Raul Jiménez, although he may also be used as an attacking midfielder.
One player ‘Gabigol’ won’t have to compete with is Greek centre-forward Kostas Mitroglou, who Benfica sold to Marseille for €15m. The former Olympiakos and Fulham player spent two highly productive seasons in Portugal, scoring 52 goals in 88 games for the Eagles, some of which proved crucial in two successive championship triumphs.
Captain waves goodbye
Throughout the summer it seemed certain Sporting midfielder William Carvalho would be sold, but in the end, it was his national team partner Adrien Silva who left Alvalade, joining English club Leicester City in exchange for a fee reported to be around €20m. After spending 15 years playing with the Lion on his chest, Adrien became a symbol of the club and its captain, although the brilliant form of new recruit Bruno Fernandes this season softens the blow somewhat for Sporting fans.
At the time of writing both Sporting and Leicester had announced the deal is done, but the transfer is awaiting international clearance by FIFA.
As has been the case throughout the transfer window, Porto have completely bypassed the commotion, buying or selling no-one in the final days of the market. In the case of the Dragons, no news was good news, as none of the club’s top players left. Sérgio Conceição will be delighted that rumours of late swoops for midfielder Danilo and right-back Ricardo Pereira proved unfounded.
Braga did what on the face of it looks like an astonishing piece of business, selling 17-year-old Pedro Neto and 18-year-old Bruno Jordão to Lazio for a price that is reported to rise to €26m! The pair have a grand total of 54 minutes of first-team football between them. In addition to the remarkable windfall, the Arsenalistas significantly boosted their midfield options by signing Porto’s João Carlos Teixeira and Benfica’s André Horta on loan.
Minho rivals Vitória de Guimarães, on the other hand, suffered two body blows to compound their poor start to the season as captain Josué (Anderlecht) and impressive South African holding midfielder Bongani Zungo (Amiens) were both sold.
Boavista picked up an interesting loan option, signing Portugal U21 striker Rui Pedro on loan for the season from Porto.
Renato, Nani and Guedes start afresh
As for Portuguese abroad, three players who commanded huge transfer fees when they left Portugal have swapped countries again.
Renato Sanches signed for EPL club Swansea on a season-long loan after an unsatisfactory first year at Bayern, while another Euro 2016 champion, Nani, transferred from Valencia to Lazio.
As one Portuguese moved out of Valencia, another came in, PSG’s Gonçalo Guedes moving from the French capital to the La Liga club
By Tom Kundert