Premier League hits and misses from Portuguese league as Darwin Nunez deal close

For the latest from the pitch sign up for our football newsletter

Darwin Nunez has officially joined Liverpool after Benfica announced the signing on Monday morning, making him the latest player to depart Portugal and head for the Premier League.

Liga Portugal is famous for producing some of the best talent, and they birthed one of the greatest to ever do it in Cristiano Ronaldo. Multiple deals have followed Ronaldo's move to Manchester United in 2003, and Liverpool have recently raided the league after picking up Nunez just six months after signing Luis Diaz from Porto.

Premier League teams have been responsible for 14 permanent signings from Liga Portugal over the last five years, as Nunez joins an elite list. But how have they all got on? Daily Star Sport takes a look at the success stories and flops from the last five years.

Hits

Bruno Fernandes

In January 2020, United paid an initial £47million for Bruno Fernandes as he became their latest Portuguese star. And he started life brightly, and has been one of their best players ever since.

Fernandes has 50 goals and 39 assists for United across 126 games for the club, and it's clear to see why they were so insistent on signing him from Sporting Lisbon. But his form has since taken a dive, just like the rest of his team-mates, with Ronaldo being an exception.

The midfielder was rewarded with a bumper new contract last season, but his recent performances have been a shadow of his previous form. Fernandes always wears his heart on his sleeve, but it seems as though emotions have started to get the better of him, and all eyes will be on his form under Erik ten Hag next season.

Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias has been an exceptional signing for Manchester City, and his arrival bolstered their defence at a time when they needed it most. City signed Dias from Benfica in September 2020 for an initial £61m, and he has since gone on to become one of the Premier League's best defenders.

Dias was signed after City were humbled by Liverpool, who won their first Premier League during the 2019/20 season. But since his arrival, they've won the league in consecutive seasons.

City also reached the Champions League final for the first time during his maiden campaign, although they were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea. Dias also has a Carabao Cup to his name, and many more honours are set to come.

Ederson

When Pep Guardiola arrived at City in 2016, it was clear to him after his first season that he needed a new goalkeeper, and Ederson was picked as the man for the job. City spent £35m on Ederson in June 2017, despite the fact that the Brazilian had only made 37 league appearances for Benfica across two seasons.

But Guardiola knew that Ederson was his man, and the Brazilian is probably the most comfortable goalkeeper in the world with the ball at his feet. Sometimes he's been caught out for being too casual, but with four Premier League titles to his name, who is to argue?

Ederson has also won four Carabao Cups and one FA Cup during his time in England, and at the age of just 28 there is plenty more left in the Brazilian. It's been another masterstroke from Guardiola, and it won't be the last.

Luis Diaz

The January signing of Luis Diaz has been tipped as one of the best mid-season deals in recent history, as the Colombian gave Liverpool a huge boost when they needed it most. Liverpool were set to sign Diaz this summer, but interest from Tottenham saw them fast-track their plans.

And everything happens for a reason, as Diaz hit the ground running, and seemed to lift Liverpool and help them challenge for the quadruple as late as they did. Diaz was named man of the match in his first major final for the club, and inspired Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final, when they blew their two-goal advantage.

Liverpool ended the season on two trophies, and Diaz also scooped up awards from Porto's successes, as the Colombian played a huge part during the early stages of the campaign. The initial £37.5m fee now looks like a bargain, and the Colombian could easily be worth double that amount now.

Raul Jimenez

Jimenez was signed by Wolves after they secured promotion to the Premier League in 2018, and the former Benfica striker was initially brought in on loan. The loan fee cost just £2.2m, and he was bought the following summer for £33m as Wolves triggered their option to buy clause.

The Mexican has been their main man, and scored 30 Premier League goals across his first two seasons at the club as Wolves established themselves as a top-flight side once again. However, a shock injury kept Jimenez out for the majority of the 2020/21 season, and he hasn't been as prolific since returning.

Jimenez fractured his skull during a match against Arsenal, and naturally his aerial ability hasn't been the same since. He still managed six goals last season, and the Mexican will be targeting a better return next time around.

Victor Lindelof

United spent £30m on Victor Lindelof back in 2017, as Jose Mourinho saw his as a future star when arriving at the club. The Sweden international had come off the back of a good season at Benfica, and Mourinho trusted his Portuguese instincts.

But Lindelof made a rocky start to his United career, and only made 17 Premier League appearances in his first season. Ironically, it was after Mourinho had left the club that his form stated to pick up a bit.

Lindelof has never become a star, and United signed Raphael Varane last summer after the defender had failed on many opportunities to impress. But in a disastrous season, United were still grateful for Lindelof as Varane and Harry Maguire both had lengthy spells out.

Ruben Neves

Ruben Neves joined both Boly and Espirito Santo at Wolves in 2017, and the Championship side spent a whopping £15.8m on him in 2017. The fee was a record for both Wolves and the Championship, but it paid off as they were promoted at champions.

Neves has been fantastic for Wolves ever since, and is the glue in their midfield. They may have gambled on him at the time, but now they are demanding that interested sides pay upwards of £60m if they want to secure his services.

The 25-year-old is linked with both Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Barcelona, and it's likely that he will move on if Wolves don't get into Europe next season. The Wolves star is also a regular for the Portugal national team

Rui Patricio

Rui Patricio is one of only two members on this list that have since moved away from the Premier League since signing. Although the likes of Neves and Jimenez have been crucial to Wolves' rise, Patricio is a name that cannot be ignored.

The Portuguese shot stopper was excellent for Wolves, and was also an iconic sight as he chose to wear the no.11 shirt while in goal. Patricio has now joined Mourinho at Roma, and helped them win the Conference League last season.

Although Patricio was a big loss, they have since replaced him with fellow Portuguese goal keeper Jose Sa. And Sa was named as one of the signings of the season for picking up where Patricio left off.

Ricardo Pereira

Silva's move may have been a mistake, but Leicester returned to Portugal to sign Porto right-back Ricardo Pereira, and it's been a very different story. In May 2018, Leicester agreed to sign the star for £22m, and he was voted both his team's Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season at the end of the year.

Injuries haven't been kind to Pereira, but his absence has also demonstrated how integral he is to the Leicester side. Pereira has made 92 league appearances since signing, and scored six goals from right-back.

In February 2022 a contract extension was agreed and Pereira's stay was prolonged until 2026, with both the club and the player happy to continue the journey. Pereira was part of the Leicester squad that won their first ever FA Cup during the 2020/21 season.

Misses

Fabio Silva

Fabio Silva has joined a long list of Portuguese stars to join Wolves, who have been dubbed as the 'Portugal B Team' due to their mass recruitment from that area of the continent in recent years. Silva remains the club record signing, when Wolves paid Porto £35m in September 2020.

Silva was just 17, and the striker is still yet to reach the age of 20 despite playing 53 Premier League games for the club already. Silva's record hasn't been favourable, as only four league goals have been scored since his high-profile move.

But he's been played more than initially planned, after Raul Jimenez suffered a horror injury. And it has to be remembered that the striker is still only young, and is still one for the future.

Adrien Silva

Patricio was one player that has since left the Premier League, and Adrien Silva is the other. The midfielder is by far the biggest transfer flop on the list, and it's fair to assume that all parties involved regret the move all together.

In August 2016, Leicester wanted to sign Silva from Sporting, but they did not want to pay the £38.5m release clause and waiting until the following summer. They returned, and agreed a £22m fee instead, but disaster struck late on. The documents relating to his transfer did not reach FIFA until 14 seconds after the deadline.

Because of this, he was ineligible to play for the club until the next transfer window, and essentially spent six months training and unable to compete. But the wait was anti-climactic, and Silva flopped at the club. The midfielder only made 14 league appearances for Leicester and at the age of 33, Silva is now playing his football in the UAE.

Willy Boly

Willy Boly joined Braga after leaving boyhood club Auxerre in 2014, but was quickly snapped up by Porto, who were managed by Nuno Espirito Santo at the time. And after making just 10 appearances for Porto, he was brought to Wolves by his former manager.

Boly has been a crucial part of the Wolves defence ever since signing initially on loan in 2017. Boly helped Wolves gain promotion to the Championship, and managed to score four goals during his first Premier League season.

Last season he was rotated a lot more under Bruno Lage, making a career low 10 appearances for Wolves. Boly is now 31, and his contract is set to expire at the end of next season.

Alex Telles

After signing one Porto full-back, United decided to recruit Dalot's old team-mate Alex Telles in 2020. The former Porto captain was signed for £15m, and quickly announced himself with a wonderstrike against Villarreal in the Champions League.

Telles only made nine appearances in his first season, but under Ralf Rangnick he became more of a regular starter. He made 21 appearances in the season just gone, with Luke Shaw experiencing a huge dip in form after starring for England in the summer.

Brandon Williams is returning from his loan spell at Norwich, meaning that United will have three options on that side of the pitch. It's likely that one will leave this summer, but that will be up to incoming boss Ten Hag.

Diogo Dalot

United signed promising Porto full-back Diogo Dalot in June 2018 for £19m, but he was largely kept out of the side by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. It wasn't until Dalot moved to AC Milan on loan that his fortunes began to change.

The Portuguese defender starred in Milan during the 2020/21 season, and the Italian side were keen on signing him permanently. However, United had other ideas, as Wan-Bissaka's form had dropped and they weren't keen on letting Dalot go cheaply.

Dalot has since become their starting right-back and is now a regular in the Portugal national team. The defender is yet to sign a new deal though, and it expires at the end of next season.

  • Premier League
  • Liverpool FC
  • Bruno Fernandes
  • Cristiano Ronaldo

Source: Read Full Article