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6 Players In Portugal That Newcastle Should Scout

Marcos Rojo - Sporting Lisbon

The Portuguese league has quietly produced top end talent for the Premier League's top clubs over the last decade. As Newcastle has had its gaze drawn towards France especially, Portugal has thus far been overlooked by the Newcastle management.

This seems set to change with Alan Pardew’s recent attempt to sign Ricky van Wolfswinkel and the news that youngster Amido Baldé could be joining the club in the summer. Here now is a list of 6 promising footballers in Portugal that Newcastle should take a look at:

Marcos Rojo, Sporting Lisbon, Centre-Back

Rojo is an excellent option at centre-back if in fact Fabricio Coloccini leaves this summer. He is known for his speed and good offensive instincts, which has allowed him to fill in at left-back when needed. At 23 years of age, Rojo has already played for Argentina on 9 occasions. In his first season with Sporting Lisbon, Rojo has been the club’s first-choice centre-back when not injured and has played in the Europa League as well.

The club’s financial woes are well-known and many expect there to be a fire sale this summer. Sporting have several good young central defenders and could be tempted to sell Rojo. Recent reports indicate that PSG and Valencia are both interested. His value is priced at a very reasonable €5m.

Diego Capel, Sporting Lisbon, Left Winger

A Spanish winger who has been a popular player in his time in the Portuguese capital. Capel is hard-working and could help spark Newcastle’s offense. Alan Pardew has tried several players on the left side this season, including Jonás Gutiérrez, Sylvain Marveau and Yoan Gouffran. Perhaps, a natural winger like Capel would make sense.

Capel has endured a poor season with the club however, and all indications are that the Sporting is actively seeking a buyer. He has been linked with Liverpool, Tottenham, Swansea and most recently Marseille. His value is believed to be around €9m though speculation is that Sporting may let him go at a reduced rate.

André Carrillo, Sporting Lisbon, Forward

Flashy, technically gifted forward who has mainly played as a right winger with Sporting lisbon, though he could also play on the left and even centre-forward. Carrillo’s dribbling skills and ability to elude defenders and find open spaces will remind many of Manchester United winger Nani. Though, he has been very inconsistent in his time in Europe, and has recently lost his starting position to teenager Bruma.

Carrillo is reportedly the target of an ambitious bid by West Bromwich Albion. Carrillo may end up being a terrific acquisition by anyone who purchases him. Exceptionally talented, Carrillo could flourish in a different environment. Like with Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Sporting may be willing to offload Carrillo in order to reduce their wage bill. His value is estimated at around €5m.

Rodrigo, Benfica, Forward

Rodrigo Moreno is a Brazilian-born striker who has played for Spain at the junior level. He scored Benfica’s opening goal in their Europa League match with Newcastle United last week. The 22-year-old joined Benfica from the Real Madrid youth system in 2010. He was loaned out to Bolton Wanderers in 2010-11 and had a largely unsuccessful campaign, scoring only one goal in 17 matches.

Since the acquisition of Lima in August 2012, Rodrigo has fallen down the pecking order in Jorge Jesus’ squad. He has played out of position on the wing, and at times has been relegated to the bench. But he has performed well this season. Rodrigo is likely to leave this summer, with many clubs reportedly chasing the young striker, including West Bromwich Albion and Inter Milan. Valued around €10m, Rodrigo would not come cheap but he would be likely to step in and be Newcastle’s first-choice striker. A good alternative to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Amido Baldé, Vitória Guimarães, Striker

Born in Guinea-Bissau, Baldé has played for Portugal at the youth level. Tall at 1,93m, and physically imposing, Baldé notched his eighth goal for Vitória Guimarães on Sunday in a 2-1 win against Beira-Mar. It was his 3rd goal in 5 matches overall. An impressive total considering he is playing at a small club, who rely on him to help create as well as score goals. This is his first season in Guimarães, after he was released from Sporting Lisbon in the summer. The deal was seen by many as a potential steal for Guimarães at the time.

The subject of serious media attention in the last several days. The latest reports suggest that Newcastle are in negotiation to sign the young Portuguese striker to a permanent deal. He has also drawn attention from Tottenham, Everton and several clubs in France and Germany. Valued at around £1m, the price for Baldé could now be several million. However, it is extremely unlikely that Baldé would see regular game action with the Magpies next season but he is certainly someone to keep your eye on going forward.

Salim Cissé, Académica, Striker

Another hidden gem, the 20-year-old Guinean has established himself this year with Académica. He has notched six goals in 19 matches this season, playing mainly as a centre-forward but sometimes on the left as well. He has played perhaps his best football in the Europa League, where he scored two goals and 3 assists in only 6 matches before his club was eliminated in the group stage. He scored a terrific volley against Hapoel Tel Aviv on October 4th in a 1-1 draw.

Cissé has been linked with a move to Ligue 1 giants Marseille. He is valued at £1m right now, but the youngster is sure to generate more attention in the future. Like Baldé, Cissé would certainly be an option for the future. Newcastle can no longer overlook the fact that they have a shortage of good striking options in their ranks, and Cissé could be their long-term solution.

About Rui Miguel Martins (71 Articles)
I am a Communications Specialist and Digital Marketing Strategist based in Toronto, Canada.

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