Targets: Portugal

With the January transfer window open, Portuguese football expert Tom Kundert gives his verdict on five stars from the Primeira Liga who could attract attention from Premier League clubs.

By Adam Bate with Tom Kundert (video by James Crosby).   Last Updated: 06/01/14 3:50pm

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Tom Kundert is a Lisbon-based football journalist, the editor of the Portuguese football website Portugoal and co-author of the book A Journey Through Portuguese Football. We caught up with him get his expert verdict on five stars from Portugal who could be making the move to the Premier League.

Nemanja Matic

Age: 25 (26 on Jan 8th)
Nationality: Serbia
Club: Benfica
Position: Midfielder
Good fit for Chelsea; Manchester United

The word

Matic made his Premier League debut as a Chelsea player back in November 2009 but was unable to make the breakthrough at Stamford Bridge and was subsequently sold to Benfica in 2011. His performances in the Portuguese capital have sparked talk of a return and reports suggest a move back to England could be imminent.

Tom's expert view

Player of the season in Portugal in 2012/13, Benfica did well to hold on to Matic in the summer after months of consistently outstanding performances. Patrolling the base of the midfield with impressive dynamism and physicality, setting attacks in motion with accurate, incisive and deceptively creative passing, Matic also proved a goal threat himself. His astonishing strike against FC Porto was a highlight of last year's thrilling title race in Portugal. Failure to make progress out of the group stage of the Champions League has apparently opened the door for the Serbian's departure. "I don't think it is possible we can repeat the efforts we made in the summer to retain our best players. If we receive the same offers we cannot ignore them," said Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira last week.


Fernando

Age: 26
Nationality: Brazil
Club:Porto
Position: Midfielder
Good fit for: Liverpool: Manchester United

The word

Fernando is in his sixth season at Porto and has assembled a formidable trophy collection since his arrival from the Brazilian lower leagues. The former Brazil Under-20 star played the full 90 minutes in the UEFA Europa League triumph in 2011 and is now attracting interest from a host of top Premier League clubs.

Tom's expert view

One of the top performers in Portugal over a number of years, Fernando is aptly nicknamed "the Octopus", his long legs seemingly everywhere as he makes perfectly timed interceptions again and again to thwart opposition attempts at penetration towards Porto's goal. The Brazilian constitutes a one-man wall shielding the defence and is a big reason for the northerners' domination of domestic football. Fernando has lifted the title in four of his five seasons at the Estádio do Dragão. With his contract up at the end of the season the 26-year-old could probably be bought for significantly less than his true value.


William Carvalho

Age: 21
Nationality: Portugal
Club: Sporting
Position: Midfielder
Good fit for: Manchester United

The word

Carvalho's breakthrough season at Sporting is already alerting top clubs in England with Manchester United reportedly having watched the midfielder on six occasions already this term. With Arsenal also eyeing 'the new Patrick Vieira', Sporting could be ready to cash in on a significant asset.

Tom's expert view

The third defensive midfielder listed, Carvalho is not yet at Matic or Fernando's level, although he arguably has the potential to be at least as good. Brought back to Sporting this season after a year on loan in Belgium, the Angolan-born midfielder has been a revelation, playing a big part in the club's renaissance. He uses his big frame to good effect but it is his remarkable composure and unerring knack of finding the right pass even in the most congested of midfields that have stood out. He made his full Portugal debut in the World Cup play-off against Sweden and the unflappable way in which he acquitted himself in a high-pressure situation augurs for a brilliant future. Would cost a fortune, but he is worth it.


Éderzito

Age: 26
Nationality: Portugal
Club: Braga
Position: Striker
Good fit for: Newcastle

The word

Éderzito netted 13 goals in 18 games in his first season at Braga to earn full international honours with Portugal and alert a number of top clubs to his talents. Although he has a solitary strike to his name in the current campaign, with teams like Newcastle looking to bolster their forward line, interest is unlikely to have gone away.

Tom's expert view

Taking a punt on the Braga striker could yield rich dividends. The powerful forward was enjoying a highly impressive breakout year in 2013, scoring regularly and winning more and more advocates as the man who should occupy the striker position for Portugal, before his season was brought to a premature end by a cruciate knee ligament injury. Has yet to find his best form since making his comeback, but when back in full swing Éder's strong aerial game, powerful and accurate shooting with both feet and an expert understanding of the lone striker role makes him a formidable adversary for any defence. Having turned 26 and with Braga a long way off the European places, the player may feel it is time to test his considerable attributes on a bigger stage.


Rui Patrício

Age: 25
Nationality: Portugal
Club: Sporting
Position: Goalkeeper
Good fit for: Arsenal; Manchester City

The word

A product of Sporting's youth system, Patricio has since made more than 250 appearances for the club and has been his country's first-choice goalkeeper for more than three years. Earlier in 2013, he was a reportedly a target for Arsenal, while Joe Hart's dip in form has increased speculation that Manchester City could be keeping tabs on his situation.

Tom's expert view

The Sporting goalkeeper has firmly established himself as Portugal's number one, a position he is expected to maintain during the next decade. Immensely strong arms and wrists and lightning reflexes combine to allow Patrício to make spectacular saves on a regular basis. Although only 25, he has a wealth of experience having hardly missed a game since establishing himself as Sporting's first-choice 'keeper in 2007. Sporting are attempting to rebuild after a calamitous few seasons, but should a big offer come in for Patrício, the Lisbon club's precarious financial position would make it difficult to refuse.

Follow Tom Kundert on Twitter

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