The European transfer window closed on Monday evening and various Portuguese footballers beat the rush to secure moves ahead of the deadline. Most notable in finding a new home is André Silva, with the Seleção striker leaving AC Milan for German outfit Eintracht Frankfurt on a two-year loan deal.
Elsewhere, Manuel Fernandes will remain in Russian football after finally ending speculation of his future by signing for Krasnodar, while youngster Thierry Correia departs Portugal and Sporting for Spanish heavyweight Valencia.
André arrived at Frankfurt on Monday to settle his future following months of speculation. The German club have allowed Ante Rebic to move in the opposite direction to Milan in order to complete the deal for Silva, with sporting director Fredi Bobic emphasising that the transfer represents Frankfurt’s progress in recent years.
"Signing André Silva has seen us take the next step in terms of our transfers," said Bobic. "This wouldn't have been possible a few years ago. We're delighted to have him and are confident he'll be able to help us. André is perfectly suited to our coach's philosophy.”
For his part, 23-year-old Silva joins Frankfurt at a time when countryman Gonçalo Paciência is enjoying the aftermath of a winning goal in the weekend victory over Fortuna Dusseldorf. For Silva, the chance to play with his former Porto teammate helped make the decision to move to the Bundesliga easier.
“I am pleased to be here,” he told the club’s website. “I cannot wait to get started. I want to achieve a lot with my new club! The most important thing for me is always the challenge to learn new things and to grow as a player and personality. In this context, today's change is an important moment, because I promise myself a sporting development.
“Gonçalo? Both of us came through all the youth teams at FC Porto, we played together there and celebrated many successes. Now we want to achieve even more together!
“Of course, I've talked a lot to Gonçalo before. He could tell me a lot about Eintracht. After that, I was all the more motivated to do well for this club and its great fans, about whom I've heard a lot of good. Gonçalo has raved about the fact that the crowd unconditionally supports the team from the first to the last second. That sounded like a very charming place to play football.”
Silva will wear the no.33 shirt with Eintracht and could make his debut against Augsburg later this month, before Frankfurt host Arsenal in the Europa League a few days later.
Fernandes signs for Krasnodar
Russian league leaders Krasnodar have confirmed the signing of experienced Portuguese midfielder Manuel Fernandes on a contract until the end of the season, in a move which also ended months of uncertainty over the former Benfica man’s future.
Fernandes left fellow Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow at the end of last season and spent the summer training in the capital while attempting to resolve his situation. A return to Lokomotiv was reported to be an option, while there was strong interest in Fernandes in Turkey with champions Galatasaray believed to have been keen to bring him back to Istanbul, where Fernandes previously played for Besiktas.
Fernandes, who is well adapted to Russian football having spent five seasons with Lokomotiv, becomes the third Portuguese to play for Krasnodar. Former Marítimo midfielder Márcio Abreu, now retired, played for the club for 3.5 years between 2011-14, where his time overlapped with fellow midfielder Rui Miguel, currently with Trofense, who had a brief stint with Krasnodar in 2011.
Other moves: Correia makes “dream” Valencia move
Leading the other late moves ahead of the deadline, Spanish side Valencia brought in Sporting right-back Thierry Correia in a €12m deal. The 20-year-old signed a five-year contract at the Mestalla and told the club’s official website he was delighted to have made the move to Los Ches, where he will link up with compatriot Gonçalo Guedes.
"I am very happy to have received this opportunity,” he said. “Valencia are a big club, who have won many national and European trophies. It's an honour to represent this club. Coming to a team like Valencia CF, who can participate in the Champions League, is a dream for any player.
"Miguel Brito played for the club and he is a friend of my father, so I've always had a connection with Valencia. Then there is Gonçalo Guedes, who is Portuguese, and Cristiano Piccini -who also played for Sporting CP."
Unsurprisingly, there were many other less heralded Portuguese players beating the rush to sign for clubs across the continent. International Kevin Rodrigues leaves Real Sociedad for fellow La Liga side Leganes; Dinis Almeida joins Bulgaria’s Lokomotiv Plovdiv from Monaco; former Porto youngster Madiu Bari leaves Lazio for a loan with FC Dornbirn in Austria; João Teixeira swaps Politehnica Iasi in Romania for Ukrainians Oleksandrya; Andre Ribeiro has left Braga for St Gallen; Tiago Gomes, 33, joins Universitatea Cluj from Feirense; Beira-Mar’s Jorge Monteiro heads to Othellos Athienou in Cyprus.
The moves come at the end of a busy final week of the window, which also saw Ricardo Quaresma leave Besiktas for fellow Super Lig outfit Kasimpasa. Quaresma, who turns 36 this month, has spent six years of his career in Turkey.
By Sean Gillen