Portimonense selling off crown jewels
While highest-prized asset Shoya Nakajima remains in the shop window in Portimão awaiting a cash-rich suitor, last season’s top scorer Fabrício has already headed east to Japan.
Asian Champions League winners Urawa Red Diamonds, also featuring Portimonense old boy Maurício, have shelled out €5 million for the 28-year-old forward who will be enjoying his second spell in the Land of the Rising Sun following a 2016 successful loan period with World Club Championship finalists Kashima Antlers.
Hot on the heels of the Brazilian is fellow countryman and defensive mainstay Lucas Possignolo. The 24-year-old has reportedly signed for newly-promoted Spanish outfit Rayo Vallecano for an as of yet undisclosed sum. Further departures such as those of Ewerton and Tabata will surely follow if the price is deemed right.
Portimonense makers and shakers are trying to shore up these major losses with the acquisition of a mixture of experienced second tier players such as Paços de Ferreira’s Luiz Phellype and Penafiel’s José Gomes, neither one of which has signed yet, and promising young talent said to include São Paulo 18-year-old Iago Oliveira and Japanese pair Ayase Ueda and Shohei Kuzuya.
No doubt those responsible are hoping that first-season manager-in-waiting at this level, António Folha, can develop some unpolished diamonds, but that task will not be an easy one in the cut-throat environment of the Portuguese first division where survival is always the priority for clubs other than the ‘big’ three or four.
The sad reality is that Portimonense has neither the money nor the wage structure to keep any players of quality for any length of time, and are therefore not capable of sustaining and building on the club’s current status. It is no surprise then that the man who has seen it all before, and was the architect of the latest top-10 finish, Vítor Oliveira, packed his bags and left the Algarve.
By SKIP BANDELE