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Friday, 14 October 2011 10:50

Opinion: A quarter of the way home – transfer appraisal

Who have been the hits and who have been the flops in the Liga?

WolfswinkelNolitoWith the domestic campaign almost a quarter of the way through, Ed Gomes assesses how the summer transfer decisions taken by Portugal’s clubs stand up in mid October. The focus falls on the Big Four, with a peek into the best of the rest.


Best Signing: Nolito
The Barcelona B player has come in and added a huge scoring punch. He is joint top scorer in the Liga ZON Sagres on five goals. He has also scored a further three in Champions League qualifying. Whether starting or coming off the bench, the Spaniard has been outstanding.
Worst Signing: Capdevilla
Many will blame the manager for his inactivity, but this one needs a closer look. For some reason Villarreal let the 33-year-old left-back leave for free. By all accounts he was not in game shape when he arrived. It looks as if this one is about a player who has been on the decline for a while, but is still trying to cash in on his name. If the rumours of Juventus and others being interested in him come January are true, Benfica may still profit from a mistake.
Overview: There are a few honourable mentions. Cesar is on his way to becoming an integral part of the squad. Axel has allowed the manager to change formations and improve overall play. It’s still too early, but even Matic has produced when called upon. Benfica’s close season was critical this year, and they seem to have got it right.

FC Porto

Best Signing: Kleber
At this point you would have to name Kleber. He is currently tied with Hulk as the team’s second leading scorer, with 5 goals, one of them coming in the Champions League. Ultimately I think this could change, since one of the players signed in the close season (Sandro, Danilo) but only to be used in January may take the prize. Iturbe, who is expected to make his debut this coming weekend in the Portuguese Cup, could also make a big impact.
Worst Signing: Danilo
Over 12 million euros paid for a player that won’t join your club until January. He may still prove to be great and even the signing of the year, but at this point no. That’s too much money spent on a player that is nowhere near the team.
Porto’s transfer season was poor. This team was coming off a big year and hoped to remain intact. Once Villas-Boas left a lot of air went out of the balloon. Maybe more should have been done.



Best Signing: Wolfswinkel
This is a tougher one since Sporting brought in so many integral parts. I give it to Wolfswinkel, because he has given a scoring punch to a team that needed just that. Last season, Sporting scored more than 20 goals fewer than Porto and Benfica. In replacing Postiga with the Dutchman, they not only got better, but also younger. Honourable mentions must be given to Insua, Capel and Jeffren. Many in Portugal are worried about the influx of foreign players at Sporting, but winning will cure all of Sportinguistas’ recent pains.
Worst Signing: Centre-backs
This one is a bit unfair. It takes time for a back line to gel and become cohesive, and the new signings are better than what was there in the past. But Sporting will need Alberto Rodriguez and Oguchi Onyewu to be more than just okay, sooner rather than later.
Overview: Sporting brought in a lot of new faces, but nobody can argue that it was anything but a necessity. Sporting spent over 30 million euros in the summer transfer window, and that was with Insua and Onyewu coming on free transfers. That amount is substantially more than what the club has spent in the last few seasons, but they just might be able to see some profit coming from these acquisitions.


Best Signing: Nuno Gomes
It’s hard to imagine a 35-year-old striker that can’t play a full match at a high level being that important. We all know that Nuno Gomes brings more to a team than just stats on the field, but his selection for this category underlines how poor Braga’s offseason has been. The Arsenalistas did spend over 1.5 million euros, which is more than usual. It’s just hard to see what it got them.
Worst Signing: Rodrigo Galo
After having a successful campaign with Gil Vicente in the Liga de Honra, Galo was expected to come in and take over Silvio’s spot. Well it just hasn’t happened. Baiano, who was a free transfer, has grabbed hold of the spot and seems poised to maintain it.
Overview: With Braga it’s always a case of wait and see. They had a talented team last season, and continue to have one again this year. Maybe that’s why Galo and Ze Luis have not found their footing, or why there was no place for Pizzi.
Selected highlights


The pleasant surprise for Maritimo has to be Olberdam. The central midfielder has been on loan and after a disappointing year in Romania, he has come back with a vengeance. He has scored two goals to go along with his two assists. After showing such promise at a younger age, maybe the 26-year-old is finally poised to make a name for himself.


Danilo just might be the find of the year. Academica have him on loan after discovering him in Brazil’s 3rd Division, at Macae. The 26-year-old striker has scored three goals in seven matches.

Vitoria Guimaraes

It’s all about retreads at Guimaraes this season. They are betting on a lot of old horses, such as Nuno Assis and Pedro Mendes. Although the violence is inexcusable, I understand the frustration of the fan base.

Vitoria Setubal

It was only a couple of seasons ago that Setubal tried to turn over its whole squad. Well, they’ve calmed down this season, and somebody has gone out and brought in some quality, albeit on loan. Joao Silva, a 21 year old striker is on loan from Everton in the EPL. He scored four times in 12 matches on loan at Leiria last season, and has so far found the net three times for Setubal in six matches.
by Ed Gomes

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Comments (8)
You're not alone
8 Sunday, 16 October 2011 14:34
I'm on the same boat as many of you. I speak and read Portuguese, but still find it difficult to read the papers online.
This site is a great place not only to follow Liga Sagres but also all that's Portuguese football.

On a side note, since I'm a football nut and follow leagues/players everywhere, I've found Google Translater invaluable. Yes, its not perfect but it allows you to understand the articles.
Give it a try. I even have used on portuguese papers.

I am curious to see how the names mentioned in the article will fare by the end of the season. There's always surprises.
7 Sunday, 16 October 2011 12:21
Thanks as usual, guys. I like to translate your articles to my Benfica blog on the biggest russian sport website, and people like to read it. Thanks a lot!
6 Friday, 14 October 2011 16:25
Im a first generation portuguese-canadian my dad was born in terceira but my mom is italian so I don't speak portuguese at home. I'm learning it in university so that is great, but I really love this site and all the info. you guys provide every day. It makes the liga sagres much easier to follow.
Props to Portugoal
5 Friday, 14 October 2011 14:53
I want to echo what Jeff said, i was born in Portugal but came here very young, raised speaking Portuguese at home but since i left home I dont watch the superliga like i used to with my dad. Thank you for covering all this in english, its nice to return to my parents house, now with my 2 year old son, and continue the tradition and fun of watching the portuguese league. He will grow up speaking almost exclusively English, so this site is/will be invaluable resource for him in the future and for me right now!
Great article
4 Friday, 14 October 2011 14:29
Man am I ever happy I bought Nolito’s jersey before the season kicked off. This guy has been outstanding. Given how good he’s playing I can only hope that he stays a few years.

I fully agree on Capdevilla. The guy was good to transfer early on but only showed up at the end of pre-season. From the limited time I’ve seen of him he looks out of shape and his agent talks like its Capdevilla right to be a starting player on the team. I’m glad JJ didn’t bend to pressure from him being a big name player. If the guy isn’t fit, he should stay benched.

As for Danilo, I think he looks like an exciting player for Porto. I thought there were a few additional conditions on his contract and that the 12million was not for the full ownership. In my mind that is an extremely expensive for player that’s unproven and will show up mid-season (always the hardest time to mix in with the squad). Porto can try to gamble by trying new formations/line-ups in the middle of the season but that can easily cost them points in the league if things don’t mix perfectly.

Sporting's is finally doing better. By doing those last min sales (I think at an overly cheap value, bad business), it forced their coach to actually use some of this new talent that he was refusing to field. I think these new guys are all out to prove something and it should keep their game exciting. At this stage I can see them keeping up with Benfica and Porto instead of falling back.
Van Wolfswinkel
3 Friday, 14 October 2011 13:49
Should be considered best the signing for the name alone :-)
Actually no, Nolito takes the cake, he's been very prolific. Not a big fan of his overall game since he loses the ball far too many times and his passing can be quite erratic... on the other hand has scored some really important goals and came in for free... you can't beat that.
2 Friday, 14 October 2011 13:22
i would agree, the website is great
Thank you
1 Friday, 14 October 2011 12:19
I must say thank you to Portugoal.Net.

As a first generation Portuguese-American, although I speak Portuguese, my first language is english. My Portuguese reading ability is limited and find it great that I can follow Benfica the way my father raised me to.

This is a great article and very enlightening.

Keep up the good work! If you're ever stateside...let us know and we'll grab a beer together!


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