The next big talents out of Portugal: After £85m Darwin and £30m Vieira… meet PSG and Man United target Vitinha, a £70m Brazilian striker – and a midfielder rated among the world’s best by Guardiola
- Liverpool have brought in Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez from Portugal this year
- Meanwhile, Porto’s Fabio Vieira has completed his £34million move to Arsenal
- Manchester United are reportedly lining up targets from the Portuguese league
- The likes of Vitinha, Evanilson and Joao Palhinha could be the next big names
The Primeira Liga appears to be the fashionable market for Premier League sides to do their transfer business in this year.
Liverpool have already made a habit in recent months of harnessing the talent in the Portuguese league with the arrivals of Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez for a combined £135million.
Meanwhile, Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira completed his £34m move to Arsenal on Tuesday night.
With the top-flight sides already raiding the Portuguese market to bolster their sides this summer, a greater influx of talent from the Primeira Liga could be incoming.
Manchester United are said to be lining up targets from the likes of Sporting Lisbon and Porto, while Bruno Lage’s Wolves appear to be staying on brand and have been linked to a host of Portuguese players.
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at who could be the next big names to emerge from Portugal’s talent factory.
Liverpool have already raided the Portuguese market for striker Darwin Nunez this summer
Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira completed his £34million move to Arsenal on Tuesday night
The 22-year-old Brazilian striker, who scored 21 goals for the Portuguese champions last season, is attracting a lot of attention this summer.
Reports in Portugal claim Porto have already rejected an initial bid of £55m from Manchester United – but Sportsmail understands the Red Devils are not interested and links to Old Trafford are largely agent driven.
It’s thought that Porto value the player at closer to £70m, a price that apparently scared off fellow Premier League clubs Wolves and Brighton, who enquired after Evanilson.
Evanilson, a 22-year-old striker, scored 21 goals for the Portuguese champions last season
It’s thought that Porto value the player at closer to £70m, which is putting potential clubs off
Porto would like to keep hold of Evanilson, whose contract runs until 2025.
The centre forward scored 14 goals in 30 appearances in the Primeira Liga, helping Porto to the league title.
Still only 22, the Brazilian has plenty of potential and has already earned the nickname ‘Lewanilson’ in Portugal and his homeland in tribute to deadly Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
One of the oldest on this list at 26, Palhinha could be making his way to the Premier League this summer with Fulham hopeful of beating Wolves to his signature.
The 26-year-old arrived at Sporting in 2014, before making his breakthrough into the senior team in 2016.
The defensive midfielder – valued at around £15m – made 38 appearances last season, including six in the Champions League – offering European experience.
Joao Palhinha made 38 appearances last season, including six in the Champions League
The Portuguese was part of the Sporting side that won the league title in 2020-21 and manager Ruben Amorim has spoken highly of his player.
Ha previously said: ‘I gave him the script of maturity and the difference of four years. Jorge Jesus used the Palhinha of four years ago, I use the Palhinha of now.
‘The credit belongs to Palhinha, that grew up that way. I often tell Palhinha that he is very good without the ball and with the ball. More than a tactical coach, I get it in Palhinha’s head that he is a special player.’
Vitinha was said to be another name on United’s Primeira Liga hit list this summer but the Red Devils appear set to miss out.
Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly closing in on securing his services in a deal worth £34m, with Vitinha set for a medical with the French side in a transfer blow to United, Arsenal and Barcelona.
His first spell in the Premier League was underwhelming as he didn’t get much of a chance to prove himself during his loan spell at Wolves, making just 22 appearances for Nuno Espirito Santo.
Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly closing in on securing Vitinha, in a blow to United
The midfielder was a vital part of Porto’s title-winning team in the 2021-22 campaign
But he bounced back at Porto and was a vital part of the title-winning team in the 2021-22 campaign as he featured in a total of 47 matches in all competitions, with his performances attracting the attention of Europe’s top clubs.
His displays have also seen him capped three times by Portugal and he is likely to be named in his country’s squad for this year’s World Cup in Qatar. Vitinha was also part of the side which finished runners-up at the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
He can operate in different central midfield roles including as a box-to-box number eight, a more advanced No 10 and a deeper No six.
The 22-year-old often played in a double pivot for Porto, using his energy to help the Portuguese side in both the defensive and attacking thirds.
The Brazil international likes to play as a central midfielder but can operate as a box-to-box midfielder, providing versatility to the middle of the park.
The 23-year-old has been linked with a move to Molineux for a number of months and previous reports in his homeland suggest Wolves are now ready to move on a club record deal for Nunes.
It is thought a bid in the region of £40m could be in the pipeline, while Sporting are understood to have a £51m release clause in Nunes’ contract.
Midfielder Matheus Nunes was hailed as one of the ‘best players in the world’ by Pep Guardiola
Everton and Newcastle have also shown interest in the midfielder, who netted three times in 33 Primeira Liga matches last season.
Wolves are not the only Premier League to have taken note of Nunes as Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola described him as world class earlier this season after a 5-0 win over Sporting in the Champions League.
‘I would say that Matheus Nunes is one of the best players in the world today,’ Guardiola said.
Despite being absent for almost a year due to suffering an ankle injury in February 2021, the centre back has still managed to attract the attention of United and Wolves.
The 22-year-old was limited to just 19 appearances in all competitions for Braga last season due to his stint on the sidelines but he still managed to merit his first international call-up with his performances not going unnoticed by Portugal national team coach Fernando Santos.
David Carmo still impressed despite being limited to 19 appearances in all competitions
With three years left on his current Braga deal, the defender’s current market value is £13.5million.
Liverpool reportedly missed out on Carmo in the January window but will not rival United and Wolves this time round.
Erik ten Hag has reportedly lined up Carmo as a target in case the Red Devils fail to sign Jurrien Timber from Ajax.
The 20-year-old worked his way up through Sporting’s academy before breaking into the first-team last season under Ruben Amorim.
Amorim is known for giving youngsters chances and helping them to develop and Inacio appears to be no exception.
He quickly came to prominence in the 2020-21 season as the youngest of Sporting’s back three, winning the Primeira Liga under Amorim.
20-year-old Goncalo Inacio broke onto the first-team scene last season under Ruben Amorim
‘Goncalo Inacio had a big growth, when he first joined the first-team he would sometimes play as a left-back, but he adapted really well to the team and I’m really pleased with him and his performance against Braga,’ Amorim said in January.
Inacio is a modern defender, left footed, smart both on and off the ball and is not afraid to ignite attacks from the back.
In his first campaign the defender made 25 appearances across all competitions but managed to almost double it to 45 last term, even chipping in with five goals and three assists.
Sporting boss Amorim hailed the defender for his ‘big growth’ since joining the first team
He has yet to make his debut for the Portuguese national team but it surely isn’t long until he does.
The youngster is not short of Premier League suitors and is believed to be attracting interest from Newcastle, Manchester United and Wolves.
United are in pole position for his signature with Inacio understood to have a £39m release clause in his contract, with United preparing an opening bid of £35m plus a further £4m in add-ons, according to A Bola.
The winger is not a stranger to English soil but has yet to grace the heights of the Premier League.
The 23-year-old was part of Wolves’ development team from 2017-19 but he has experienced a meteoric rise since returning to Portugal.
Goncalves, known as Pote, had a tremendous impact at then newly-promoted side Famalicao.
His performances earned him a move to Sporting and his 23 goals during the 2020-21 season catapulted them to the Primeira Liga title.
Pedro Goncalves was part of Wolves’ youth team from 2017-19 before returning to Portugal
‘I think he is an absolute diamond,’ his former Wolves Under-23 manager Rob Edwards told Sky Sports.
‘He is a brilliant young man. And, wow, he is doing great. I am so proud of him and so pleased for him.’
Goncalves is attack-minded often utilised in the wide areas rather than centrally but is versatile enough to be just as effective in the middle of the park as he is out wide.
Liverpool were actually linked with signing the 23-year-old early in the season, according to The Sun, with a reported £52m release clause and could be considered an alternative to Jude Bellingham.
The 20-year-old has been compared to Liverpool and Brazil forward Roberto Firmino, with Ramos possessing the style of a deep-lying forward who likes to progress forward with the ball.
The forward has netted 14 times in 18 appearances for Portugal Under-21s and has replicated his international form for Benfica, scoring 14 times.
He also made it onto the scoresheet during Benfica’s 3-3 draw against Liverpool in the Champions League during the quarter-finals last season.
Benfica are said to be open to selling for around €40million (£34m), according to Portuguese outlet Record.
Newcastle and Premier League new boys have been linked to the youngster but they will reportedly face stern competition for his signature form Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
Goncalo Ramos has earned comparisons to Liverpool and Brazil forward Roberto Firmino
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