Coentrao "sad" Sporting didn't try and sign him, Jackson Martinez makes shock return to Portugal and more: Summary of Portugal's transfer deadline day
It was a busy, dramatic day in Portuguese football yesterday as the transfer window came to a close, where we witnessed familiar faces making shock returns to the Primeira Liga, Portugal's former U21 international make a move abroad and one of last season's top performers leave the league for Russia.
Perhaps the most stunning transfer story was Fabio Coentrao's move back to Portugal's top flight. After being loaned to Sporting CP last season, where he was a regular in the side, many anticipated a return to the Lisbon club was on the cards, even Coentrao himself, who revealed that he was awaiting an offer from Sporting and received "zero calls", stating that it was "sad" that Sporting did not take him back after his good showing last campaign.
Instead, Coentrao made the surprise move to his boyhood club Rio Ave, a truly outstanding signing for a side outside the Big Three in Portuguese football. Indeed, still only 30 years of age, the former Real Madrid star still has many years ahead of him, and is still one of the best left backs the Portugal national team have to offer. Worth watching out for his performances back in Portugal as it is just a quality acquisition.
Another truly incredible piece of business on the final day of the window was from Portimonense, who brought in former Porto goal machine Jackson Martinez from Guangzhou Evergrande. A proven star in the Portuguese league, Martinez, in addition to having 40 senior caps for Colombia, made 90 appearances for Porto across three seasons, scoring an impressive 67 goals in the process. What's more, he was top scorer in each of the three seasons he was at the club, a truly extraordinary achievement that earned him a move to Atletico Madrid.
However, his past two seasons have been far more frustrating and, after a serious injury in 2016, Martinez has not played a competitive football match for nearly two years now. As such, this loan move to Portimonense could be exactly what he needs; if he can regain his former form, it could prove a brilliant bit of business for Portimonense - who only got promoted last season - and a wonderful opportunity for Martinez to turn his career around.
Another signing made by a Portuguese club was Jorge, who arrived on loan from Monaco, which includes an option to make the deal permanent. The 22 year old Brazilian left-back will be fighting for a place in the team with his compatriot Alex Telles, who has been in outstanding form for the Portuguese outfit.
In terms of departures from the Portuguese league, one notable, high-profile move was Jose Sa, who has gone on a season-long loan to Olympiakos from Porto, where he will link up with compatriot Pedro Martins, who was the man that gave Sa his professional debut back in 2013 when both were at Maritimo. Having played a significant part in Porto's title winning season last year, Sa was eventually dropped from the team after a 5-0 home thrashing at the hands of Liverpool in the Champions League, replaced by the more experienced Iker Casillas, who kept his place until the end of the season. The move could be exactly what Sa needs right now, a chance to test himself in a new league, to play regularly and to link up with a manager that clearly has a lot of faith in him.
One of the transfers that may have been submerged in the chaos, shocks and thrills of the final day of the transfer window is Miguel Cardoso's move to Dynamo Moscow. The 24-year old winger had been at Tondela for two full seasons and was outstanding for the club, playing 62 Primeira Liga matches in the process. Last season was a particularly outstanding one for Cardoso, who played all but two of the club's league games and chipped in with eight goals and six assists as he helped the club to an impressive 11th placed finish. The 1 million euro signing could prove to be a terrific bit of business for the Russian club, who have a top quality winger on their hands if he can pick up from where he left off while at Tondela.
Another move from Portugal's top flight was Scottish attacking midfielder Ryan Gauld, who has gone on a season-long loan to Portuguese second division side Farense having failed to break into Sporting's squad yet again. He endured a frustrating loan spell at Aves last season, where he only played the full 90 minutes in two league fixtures, typically just coming on for the closing minutes of their matches or often being left out of the match-day squad entirely, and having arrived at Sporting with such promise, is yet to live up to his expectations. A loan to Aberdeen was also on the cards, but Farense ultimately won the race to bring in the former Scottish U21 international.
Sporting winger Mattheus was another to be on the move, this time moving out of the country to German side Nurnberg, who play in the Bundesliga, while Porto full-back Saidy Janko also went abroad, joining Nottingham Forest in the English second tier.
A Portuguese player was also on the move yesterday, with Rui Fonte linking up with his brother Jose Fonte by being loaned to Lille OSC in the French top flight.
Another Portuguese player who thought he was on the move was Braga youngster Xadas, who was on the brink of joining Monaco but, for a failed medical, had his move broken down. Ramires' move to Benfica, which was all but confirmed, also fell through at the last minute after the Brazilian midfielder refused to sign a new contract with his Chinese club Jiangsu Suning, meaning that he is free to leave to any club he desires at the end of the season.