After having finally confirmed his intention to stay with the newly-promoted Algarve club, Portimonense manager Vitor Oliveira has begun restructuring his squad of players expected to more than hold their own at the highest level come next season.
The overall picture will become clearer over the coming weeks of fine-tuning, but for now the ‘backbone’ of keeper Ricardo Ferreira, long-standing captain Ricardo Pessoa and veteran top scorer Pires, all of whom have signed new contracts, has been secured.
Furthermore the incoming Hackman (Aves), Wellington (Penafiel) and Rui Costa (Varzim) already have valid contracts in place while it is hoped that current loan agreements for Lucas and Stanley with São Paulo and Varzim, respectively, can be extended. Lumor, still with relegation-threatened German second division side 1860 Munich, could also return.
In contrast, Zambujo, Ivo Nicolau and Buba have been told that they are not part of Oliveira’s plans for next season while on-loan Fidelis, Leo Dreyer and Luís Mata will return to Penafiel, Varzim and FC Porto respectively.
Possible targets who could yet be heading south include French Académica de Coimbra winger Makonda, Fafe forward Alan Junior and Scottish midfielder Ryan Gauld who has failed to establish himself at Sporting Lisbon since his €3 million move from Dundee United two years ago.
On the other side of the coin there is a degree of concern about the future of playmakers Paulinho and Fabrício, who have many suitors both in Portugal and abroad, as well as outstanding central defender Jadson, closely linked with a move to Sporting Braga. Watch this space!
By SKIP BANDELE
Photo: Long-standing captain Ricardo Pessoa, holding the second league trophy on May 21, has signed a new contract with Portimonense