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Wednesday, 30 July 2014 15:22

Summer shakeup – How are the big three shaping up going into the new season?

Bookies make Porto favourites

league-cup.jpgAs the domestic season edges ever closer the squads of Portugal’s Big Three are being remodelled by the usual summer transfer tumult. We take a look at how the contenders are shaping up. Odds are supplied by betfair.com.


Benfica badge.jpgBenfica

Odds to win Primeira Liga in 2014/15 – 11/10 (second favourites)
One of the big news stories at Benfica is the return to the limelight of much maligned Manchester United flop Bebé. Rightly or wrongly the English football press has routinely pilloried Bebé since his overpriced – and by all accounts under-researched – £7.4 million move from Vitória Guimarães in 2010.
His four years in England may have seen Bebé labelled as a fiasco but his transfer to Benfica comes on the back of an impressive loan spell at Paços de Ferreira, scoring 14 goals and doing enough to claim Player of the Year at the club. His resurgent form even had some wondering if he should be considered for inclusion in the Portugal World Cup squad. It will be interesting to see if Jorge Jesus can revive the undoubted talent that originally sparked Bebé’s ill-fated switch to Old Trafford.
Given the exodus of talent from the Estádio da Luz this summer, much hope rests on the youthful shoulders of Brazilian Talisca, who has impressed in pre-season since his move from Bahia. Under-the-radar signings Pawel Dawidowicz, picked up from Lechia Gdansk, Loris Benito from Zurich and Victor Andrade from Santos may also be fast-tracked into the first team by Jorge Jesus, alongside recent acquisition, Portuguese left-back Eliseu from Malaga.
With Lazar Markovic, Ezequiel Garay, André Gomes, Jan Oblak and Rodrigo potentially set to be followed out of the door by Enzo Pérez, who some sources claim is close to a big money switch to Valencia or Manchester United, there’s a strong sense that Jorge Jesus faces his biggest challenge yet in having to reconstruct his team without the financial resources to build on last season’s successful campaign.

Porto-ok.gifFC Porto

Odds to win Primeira Liga in 2014/15 – Evens (Favourites)
Like Benfica, Porto are reportedly struggling to keep hold of key talents this summer. Jackson Martínez remains at Estádio do Dragão but for how long? Currently Arsenal are being linked with the Colombian and though it may take a hefty fee to part Porto with their star striker it would not be a surprise to see him depart the Primeira Liga. Reports are also emerging that Martínez’s young countryman Juan Quintero is also being lined up by Arsenal.
As it stands however, Porto’s summer transfer activity has been pretty sound. Bruno Martins Indi performed impressively at the World Cup and looks like an admirable capture while Adrián López, despite struggling to make an impact for Atletico Madrid last season, adds undoubted quality – not to mention useful versatility – to the attack.
Also arriving from Atletico is Oliver Torres, a very highly rated young creative midfielder who has enough talent to make a significant impact on loan. Cristian Tello, another quality loan acquisition, this time from Barcelona, could make a big impact in Portugal where a good season will surely be more constructive than another year on the fringes of the Barça squad. Tello is a creative ball-playing attacker straight out of Barcelona central casting and should add guile and invention to the Porto attack. The same sort of description could be applied to Yassine Brahimi who arrives from Granada after an eye-catching World Cup with Algeria.
Overall it looks like Porto’s squad is likely to emerge from the summer slightly less impacted by high profile outgoings (despite the loss of Fernando and Mangala) than Benfica’s and the likes of Tello, Torres and Brahimi could add enough zip and guile to reaffirm Porto’s status as the team to beat. The fact that Betfair have them as favourites despite slipping to third last season is no great surprise. 

Sporting Badge.jpgSporting

Odds to win Primeira Liga in 2014/15 – 7/1 (third favourites)
It has been an interesting, youth orientated transfer window so far for Sporting. Their most noteworthy capture is ‘The Scottish Messi’, Ryan Gauld, who looks a prodigious talent and attracted plenty of hype last year. The 18-year-old’s decision to leave Dundee United for Sporting may have surprised some – many probably assumed he’d be snapped up by one of the English Premier League big boys – but shows an unusual (and perhaps encouraging) lack of provincialism on the part of the Scottish teenager.
The true extent of Gauld’s talent may not yet be known but it will be fascinating to see how a Scottish player dubbed the best of his generation will develop at a club that nurtured the talents of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luís Figo and João Moutinho, especially as it’s clear he chose Sporting because he believed they could help develop his talents.
At just 20, Simeon Slavchev – dubbed the Bulgarian Lampard – is another promising young recruit, as is Oriol Rosell, 21, a graduate of Barca’s revered La Masia academy who arrives via a two-year spell in the MLS with Sporting Kansas City.
Sporting’s summer transfer activity shows an admirable eye for the future (probably the best policy given their limited financial resources) but, at this stage, does little to reinforce their credentials as title contenders, a position echoed by the bookies distanct third place estimation of their prospects.
Comments (18)
Steve forgot to add
18 Saturday, 09 August 2014 13:03
Orlando Mac
If you are tight on money you can always run xbmc from a computer to your tv...

It installs on many operating systems.

I just found it more convenient then dragging my computers around.. and it is always ready to go.

Was happy for Rio Ave also.. more points please...
17 Friday, 08 August 2014 22:16
Portugal took a beating in the coefficient last campaign. The great news is that once 14/15 begins and 09/10 come off the books, we'll be ahead of both Italy and France. (Not sure when Rio Ave's points will kick in)

13/14 Ranking Link:
14/15 Ranking Link:

The big questions is whether we'll be able to hold the 4th spot in the rankings.
I think that it will be really tough, and I could see us dropping back to 6th, which could really do harm to the league. Having two clubs guaranteed CL Group Stages and one a playoff qualifier is big. Just a while ago we were down to One Group Stage team and one qualifier. At the end of this campaign, 10/11 will come off the books, and that was a huge campaign for Portuguese futebol.
French teams have gotten stronger as have Italian. I just don't see Porto and Benfica doing anything in the CL again. Yes it all depends on the group drawing, but we've been in poor groups and failed to advance.
Uefa Co-efficients
16 Friday, 08 August 2014 02:51
On another note, it was great to see Rio Ave flying the flag in the Europa League qualifiers and getting a 1 - nil aggregate win over Gotenburg of Sweden
@Orlando Mac
15 Wednesday, 06 August 2014 22:33
Thank you so much, I really appreciate that you have taken the time to post some great advice. I've been following your posts for a while now and I must admit the first thing I do before reading an article is look for and read NJ's, Andre's yours, Eddie's, Bubba Zanetti's comments etc. I haven't seen you on the pod case recently and that is a shame. I remember when you first did do it you done a fantastic job and gave some great insights.

Currently, I'm flat out with the new bub which takes up most of my free time but I've taken note of your advice with the Android device and when I get some time I'll look into it a bit further. In the meantime those sites you posted are great

Thanks once again

Steve.. you make some very good points..
14 Tuesday, 05 August 2014 14:30
Orlando Mac
Oblak is a huge loss.. if they hadn't toyed with him so much.. we would've still had him for another two seasons..

Anyways only way to look is up from here...

As for your request I can help you out there.

Lots of great streaming sites and you never have to miss a game, here are some of my favourites:





My suggestion though if you want an easy hook up to your TV and create a nice media center is an Android TV box kitted out with XBMC (changing its name soon to Kodi).

I have this Droid Box... it is a Quad Core..

Takes a little installing and a bit of learning to set it up properly.. but not too crazy of a learn.. I mastered it in a full day..

Basically in install some Repos so that you can add video addons.. with SuperRepo you can get TV Portuguesa as an add-on which has a whole boatload of Portuguese channels including SportTV, BenficaTV, SportingTV... RTP etc..

The there is another add-on called SportsDevil that is awesome, other ones for Football Replays etc..a whole host of them.. including movie databases, LiveTV, PVR functions etc..

It will cost you the one time fee of the box... no monthly charges.. Awesome really and the quality is decent.. you have to pick the right streams but beyond that it is great.

Their remote is painful at times.. but there is an Android App called Yatse that is free.. that I hooked up that makes using my Android phone as a keyboard which is so much easier.. when doing searchs or typing in web addresses.

Lots of youtube videos and websites that walk you through adding addons, Repos, etc...

The best Repos are Super Repo, Mash-up, XBMCHub, and Navi-X..

I also love the meta-data and fan art that comes up with TV shows and Movies.. makes it a DVD like experience for the Home Theatre.

Hope that helps buddy... I would also suggest an unlimited bandwidth internet account.. will cost you more.. but in the end because you will downloading so much.. because it is basically IPTV.. you will save yourself on overage charges.

I am switching ISP companies now as we speak here in Canada, it is a little more pricey per month.. but I am getting almost triple the speed.. and the overages can be a killer if you are a power user.

13 Tuesday, 05 August 2014 14:04
Djalo is out on loan to San Jose from Benfica. I know he's looked good, with someone even mentioning that he looked the best out on the field.
Benfica not only does well in selling players, but also have done a wonderful job in the transfer secondary market, loans. We've profited handsomely off loaning out players.

As for Djalo, I've never been a fan, and if anything his resurgence points more to the lack of quality in MLS. He's a one trick pony, and when speed fails him there's not much more.
Hopefully he'll remain out on loan.
Some thoughts
12 Monday, 04 August 2014 04:04
Firstly does anyone know where I can subscribe to Liga games or know who shows them (if anyone) in Australia. It would be great if there was a site (happy to pay for this) where I could download and watch the games as well. Any assistance would be much appreciated.

Benfica - Well the only positives to take from this pre-season are that it has happened in pre-season. We had a pretty poor pre-season and start to the league last year as well and eventually came good so the jury is still out. In saying that though I think NJ raised some extremely good points about where has the money gone. I've always said that the club needs to find other revenues to make money and not just rely on selling off their assets. Moving forward I think it is important that we break the bank and get a quality keeper. Oblak will be very hard to replace but I think Fraser Forster is a good alternative. Artur is just not up to it anymore and probably never was. Other areas that are worrying are;
- Central Defence
- Def Midfield

I guess the left back position as well could be a liability as well. Does anyone know who'll most likely start. How has Bonito been doing
11 Monday, 04 August 2014 02:28
Julio/Murillo, Canada,

The following link is to the transfer portion on a great site.


You can click on the season you want to check.
Benfica currently sits at +73.87 million dollars (55.02 million euros) in transfers.
NJ you completely neglected the fact as a Die Hard Red
10 Sunday, 03 August 2014 20:36
Orlando Mac
That a ton of players are injured... and that JJ selected a god awful lineup.. I posted it on the U19 thread.. it was basically a

7-1-2.. with the back two being the worst that the club has to offer.

Clearly JJ has no clue.. of who to field.. his line-up was comical.. and like you said besides injury he should be near his starting rotation.

Seriously when you field a line-up with the two weakest CB's in your organization.. you shouldn't line them with a whole host of other weak defenders.

Prime example that JJ doesn't know what is best for himself...

But don't jump off any bridge just yet.. the injured will get back.. and JJ will slap himself in the head after a few weeks.

Bar Garay & Cardozo this squad might be even better than last seasons.
Yannick Djalo
9 Sunday, 03 August 2014 16:55
Dave California,USA
Could someone in the know please let me know more about Dja.
He has been pretty impressive here in San Jose. Does he have any future in Portugal? He is on loan from Benfica was wondering if he will heading back. Thanks!
What could've been for Benfica
8 Sunday, 03 August 2014 16:53
Julio/Murillo, Canada
Yes, Benfica are a selling club but the talent that's come this summer will hardly replace the talent that has gone out. This will be JJ's biggest test as a manager so far -- how to make do with so little of quality.
Which brings up something I've been wondering about. Does anyone have a rundown of the players that have been sold off in the last 5 years or so, and for how much?
I'd thinking as far back as Di Maria to Real Madrid and Ramires to Chelsea, right up to the recent sale of Garay, Rodrigo, etc. It's been a virtual all-star team that has raked in hundreds of millions of Euros.
Anyone have a list, or a link to a website that might have that info?
Benfica perspective
7 Saturday, 02 August 2014 17:15
I'm watching the match verse Arsenal, and all my fears have been realized. We look disjointed and are running around like chickens without a head.
Our left back situation will continue to be a huge problem. Our center-backs are awful at positioning and reading a play. No coverage, no nothing. Our offensive continuity is non existent.

What I find most sad is that this hurts our "Brand". This isn't last campaigns Benfica. So when commentators go on about how this is a good test for Arsenal, and we keep hearing from Wenger how Benfica is a strong quality team, this performance kills us. Our "Brand", yes we are and need to be one whether we like it or not, is damaged.

I'm disgusted in every way. I understand that we need to sell players and have turnover, in order to survive as a club. But Benfica, even with limited TV and Stadium revenue (compared to other big clubs), makes plenty of money. If we are in such dire straights, where is it going exactly? Is it going to fund, handball, floor hockey, basketball, futsal, etc... or into someone's pockets.
Sadly, we clearly didn't have a plan for this campaign. The transfers we've brought in, proves that. Us still needing to scramble for players, if not starters, provers that.
At this point, we should of had our starters in place and have them play most of the next few matches, yet we have nothing resembling that. We're in for a tough one.
Not all about transfers
6 Friday, 01 August 2014 10:06
Benfica's signings have been far from stellar other than Bebe who i think will shock many ppl. I think Benito and Talisca will be great too. Benfica is by far the deepest team in Portugal and guys like Ola John and Lisandro Lopez coming back from loan are almost like new signings. Even Salvio was hurt for more than half of the season so he will be a change of pace from last season. Two things will secure the title for Benfica. Keeping Enzo and signing a goalkeeper.
As far as porto. I wont lie the signings of Martins Indi, Tello and Adrian are very good but they are also losing a lot in Fernando, and most likely mangala and jackson. But the loss of Ghilas as a super sub will hurt more than people think.
As far as sporting, i am so surprised they have held on to Carvalho. That being said keeping their players wont be enough. Their defense is still as thin as paper and they need a lot of depth to compete in all the competitions they avoided last year.
So, in the words of Mdot....
5 Friday, 01 August 2014 03:05
Chris (Canada)
Benfica are a lock to win!

Lol. Just having some fun. Benfica actually look awful right now, although pre-season games mean nothing. I have to give LFV some credit though, he's really pumping the Portuguese talent. But there are so many new pieces that getting the chemistry right will take at least 3-4 months.

On the same thought, I am actually quite disappointed that Porto is the new Spain national team's farm team. I knew it would happen, and sad to say, I was proven right. They loaned ToZe away, and if Varela and Josue leave, the only Portuguese players left are Ricardo, Ricardo Nunes and Quaresma. Sad really.

Sporting remains an enigma. Good new coach, a few key acquisitions that look like real gems, and no sign of Carvalho being sold off.

Looks to be an interesting new season.
It'll be a close race
4 Thursday, 31 July 2014 11:51
I would think it would be a close race and calling any team favs at this point is just for fun. In my book Porto were the 3rd ranked team last season and so far they look the same if not weaker then last year with the loss of Fernando. Benfica have also dropped a good bit in quality. So I think it will come down to management, how well each manager knows their subs/b-team, how well they know our liga, and how long it takes them to be playing at 100%, in that department JJ has a clear advantage but it should be a fun season.

I also expect Sporting to be competitive but I'm curious to see if they can handle playing in more then one tournament. If they once crash out of every tournament early on, it could help their liga goals but I have a feeling that they will at least get 3rd in the CL to get them into the knockouts of the EL, and get past the first round of the Taca and League Cup.

I'm looking forward to reading an article on the other clubs. Very curious how Boavista is shaping up after making a jump from the 3rd division.
Re: see Benfica falling off
3 Thursday, 31 July 2014 11:48
Michael Silva/Newark
Porto and Sporting look to battle for the top as Benfica replaces their key players with lesser versions of the same thing. Addition by subtraction almost never works and Benfica has done the most subtracting so far.
New season
2 Thursday, 31 July 2014 10:43
I think the season is shaping up to be a closer title fight than it was last season, with the big 3 looking more balanced at the moment, for different reasons.

I would seriously disagree that Porto are the favourites at this point. Like Benfica, lots of new players in and likely to lose key players before the summer's through....but even more change than at Benfica in the sense that it's a new coach, with no experience of our Liga and also with no experience of the pressures of coaching a big club. I also think they lost their most important player of the last 5 years, Fernando. Fernando was the main reason Porto were so solid and hard to score against. Let's see if that remains the case with him gone.

As for Benfica, it's highly disappointing the number of key players lost, no question about it. However there's been some interesting additions too, particularly Talisca, Andrade, Bebe and Eliseu, and most importantly, the same coaching staff of the last 5 years is a big bonus in relation to the other 2 teams. JJ has proven he can build new teams quite quickly and has challenged for major trophies every year he's been at the club.

Sporting have so far done well to hold on to their main players, but I doubt this will hold out until the pre-season is over. Also Marco Silva faces a different challenge altogether to the one he had at Estoril when 4th place in the Liga was a huge success. After what happened last season, the club will be demanding the Liga title, and this puts a lot of pressure on Silva, which he didn't have at all at Estoril. Being in Europe and playing twice a week, as opposed to only once like last season, will likely make a big difference too.

Way to early to talk about favourites, the pre-season isn't even over yet. Let's wait until January/February until we see just how strong each of the teams are.
1 Wednesday, 30 July 2014 16:14
Looking at last season and which club has the most returnee's I would of had my rankings the complete opposite (Sporting as the favourites).

Just so many questions with Porto/Benfica to give them such high hopes imo.

Will be fun!

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