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Let’s go shopping in Portugal

by Sam Peoples

These Portuguese league players were prolific purchases...time to raid Porto?

Andre Villas-Boas has signed a 3-year deal at Chelsea after resigning from a Porto side that remained undefeated in the league last year as it trumped all competition en route to securing a great treble. However, the telephones must now be off the hook for all major European clubs as Porto may well not be able to stop their star players from following Villas-Boas out of the exit door and moving on to bigger clubs. United have done well in the Portuguese transfer market in the past, take the examples of the now global star that is Cristiano Ronaldo or the double swoop of Nani and Anderson in 2007 as your prime candidates and we soon realise that United must have great scouts over there. Undoubtedly, the loss of Carlos Quieroz as our assistant manager may drop our power in tempting players from the Portuguese league to Old Trafford but we still remain Manchester United and the name may well be enough to secure a signature. I decided to have a quick look at my top 2 Porto players who may well be available from Porto and be best suited to come to fit into the United system.


Joao Moutinho

Now here is a player I have personally admired for a long time. Ever since his performances in the Euro 2008 competition, Joao Moutinho has been a name that many will remember. A product of Sporting Lisbon’s youth academy,the 24-year old midfielder he racked up over 150 appearances for the Portuguese outfit before Villas-Boas signed him last season for €11 million on a 5-year deal (something which may scupper any advances, I know). He became an integral part of the midfield that dominated both domestic and European leagues and now that Villas-Boas has moved on, maybe Moutinho could want to do the same. Possessing the ability to play as a holding midfielder as well as being apt as an attacking player, he prefers to be played centrally and sounds like the perfect partner for Michael Carrick in our stagnant midfield. A battler as well as a creative outlet, he possesses a passing and shooting range that could well be the missing link in our United squad that has become dependant on our attack to score. Long gone are the days where out midfield can return some goals. In the words of Kevin Keegan, I would LOVE IT if we bought this little man, I really would.


Fredy Guarin

Here’s a good shout. Fredy Guarin is a versatile midfielder who is comfortable either playing through the centre or on the wing. Since joining Porto in 2008, he has struggled to break into the first team even after Raul Meireles was sold to Liverpool last season and this could definitely play to the advantage of United. He signed a 4 year deal in 2008 so only has 1 year remaining on his contract and United would have the power to determine the price for a player so close to leaving on a Bosman. He may not have had many first team appearances, just 20 in all but he boasts a fantastic record of having scored 10 goals in such a short space of time, notching up 5 goals domestically and 5 goals which helped Porto secure the Europa League. Added to the fact that he scored what was potentially one of the best goals in all of Europe (matched only by the quality of the celebration) he really looks like the sort of player that could bring a lot to United. Take a look at the goal he scored below, I have literally never seen a ball move so much in the air. At 24, he has plenty of playing years ahead of him and as a follow up from my article I did with Sam Kelly previewing the Copa América, I will try and gather his progress through out the tournament and see if he is the real deal. United could steal him if they went in quickly due to the fact that he didn’t have much game time with the first team and it could turn out to be an absolute gem, if his goal return from midfield last season is anything to go by.


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