Portimonense: ‘Special’ relationship?

The long-standing informal cooperation between FC Porto and Portimonense, which has seen the multiple Portuguese league champions cherry-pick top Algarvean talent while sending emerging young players of their own south to gain experience, appears to have gone sour.

According to latest press reports, an escalating and on-going dispute centres on the most recent transfers of two Portimonense stars, Paulinho and Ewerton. The first-named joined Porto on loan last January with a view of making the transfer permanent this summer while the latter joined his fellow Brazilian at Estádio do Dragao earlier this month. Both midfielders failed to impress manager Sergio Conceição at the current Lagos-based pre-season training camp and were ‘sent home’ early last Friday together with a small group of players also not included in the first team squad.

That news prompted Portimonense boss Rodiney Sampaio to urge Paulinho and Ewerton to rejoin their former club, citing as yet unpaid transfer fees of €7 and €5 million respectively, sums Porto deny to have agreed upon. Relations between the two clubs cannot have been helped by press reports last week, subsequently denied by both parties, which claimed that another deal for outstanding forward Shoya Nakajima was as good as done.

Meanwhile left winger Guilherme Lazaroni has joined new manager António Folha’s growing squad – the Brazilian previously spent half a season on loan at Portimonense in 2014 before returning to South America. Other targets yet to put pen to paper include Suzuki and Kanazaki (both Kashima Antlers), Kashiwagi (Urawa Red Diamonds), Diego Cardoso and Sabino (both Santos) and Porto forward André Pereira.

Portimonense were due to play another friendly against French side Lille last night (Wednesday, after the Resident went to press) before welcoming League Cup opponents Rio Ave for the first official match of the 2018/19 season on Sunday afternoon.

By Skip Bandele