BENFICA CLOSE TO BOA MORTE DEAL
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The 23-year-old is on a year`s loan from The Dell at Craven Cottage and has scored 16 goals so far this season, but he has not future on the South Coast, and his recent form has alerted a number of clubs to his availability.
But the player himself is thought to want to return to Portugal and Benfica look ready to beat Porto to his signature. Boa Morte first arrived in England in 1997, when he joined Arsenal for £1.75 million from Sporting Lisbon, but he started just two games in as many years at Highbury, and he signed for Southampton in 1999 for £500,000.
However, his Saints career has never taken off and he was loaned to Jean Tigana`s Fulham at the start of the season. Sporting were believed to have failed with a bid to lure him back to Portugal at the end of last year, but Benfica are hopeful they can push through a deal.
Fulham would obviously love to keep the Portuguese ace, and Premiership Sunderland are also known to be admirers, but the player has set his sights on a call-up for the national side and a move to La Estadio da Luz would obviously enhance his chances.
A deal could be concluded within the next month, but if any transfer is arranged Boa Morte will stay at Craven Cottage until the end of the English season.