The latest Portuguese contingent developing abroad - a look at LOSC and their potential charge towards the Champions League
We have seen swathes of Portuguese players make a move abroad in recent times, with a few clubs even building their team around large groups of Portuguese players. And Lille are beginning to look no different.
With an impressive five Portuguese players in their ranks, Lille - LOSC - are very much following a model that has been so successful at Wolverhampton Wanderers, with three of those players arriving this summer.
Already at the club was midfielder Xeka, brought in last year and loaned out to Dijon almost immediately, and Edgar Ié, who also arrived last season and appeared in an incredible 35 of the club's 38 league matches.
But it was an incredibly unsuccessful campaign for Lille overall last year; after conceding 67 goals in the league - the joint third most in the entire division - and losing an outrageous 20 of their 38 league games, Lille finished the season on 38 points, just one place - and one point - above the relegation zone.
After what was nothing short of a disastrous campaign, Lille have recruited substantially over the summer, and have also not only brought Xeka into the fold after his successful loan spell at Dijon, but have also used him for every minute of their Ligue 1 outings so far, playing him in all five of their league games this season from beginning to end. He's become an integral part of the team.
And in terms of incomings, Lille have since recruited three of his compatriots in veteran centreback Jose Fonte from Chinese club Dalian Yifang, Jose’s striker brother Rui Fonte on loan from Fulham, and exciting young attacker Rafael Leão, who terminated his contract with Sporting at the end of last season after the violent scenes at the club's training ground.
It brings the total number of Portuguese players at the club to five, and all are likely to play their part for the club this season. Jose Fonte, for example, like Xeka, has been a regular in the starting XI, playing four of the club's five league games this season, and looks to have the centreback position alongside Soumaoro nailed down.
It does mean, however, that fellow centreback Edgar Ié, who was so important to the club last year, has found game time very hard to come by this season, playing just a cameo role against Monaco, where he featured for 14 minutes, his first and only appearance for the club so far this campaign.
And there have been a few issues for both Leão and Rui Fonte too. Having signed for Lille this summer, both players were blocked from being able to be registered for - and therefore play for - the club by the French league due to financial issues. There were even reports that Leão was deeply considering terminating his contract with the club such was the concerning situation regarding his place in the team.
However, thankfully for both the club and the players, just a few days after the window closed, both were cleared to play for Lille, and subsequently Rui Fonte led the line in Lille's 3-2 victory over Amiens, playing 90 minutes of the eventful clash, taken off for Loic Remy only in stoppage time.
Subsequently, with both Leão and Rui Fonte now cleared to play for the club, it can be expected that both will feature a great deal for the French outfit this campaign, with both potentially going to join Jose Fonte and Xeka in the starting eleven, while Edgar Ié could still get some game time this season too.
And things are going exceptionally well at Lille this campaign. With 3 wins, a loss and a draw to their name, Lille sit on 10 points in Ligue 1, occupying second place in the league, sitting in a Champions League place and only behind big-spenders PSG. Incredibly early days of course, but with Leonardo Jardim's Monaco having a woeful season, languishing in the bottom 6 with five points from five, a place in a European qualifying spot remains up for grabs.
With a total of five Portuguese players now at the club, Lille are yet another side for Seleção fans to watch with great interest, with Xeka's recent performances giving him an outside chance of making his Portugal debut at some point in the not too distant future, while Jose Fonte's regular playing time could see him once again called upon by Fernando Santos.