TugaScout is an English-language site reporting on matters associated with Portuguese football by freelance writer Alex Goncalves, offering the latest news, reviews and opinions surrounding the Portuguese League and the Seleção players based abroad.

The Moreirense star clubs across the continent are monitoring

The Moreirense star clubs across the continent are monitoring

Shoya Nakajima may have left the Portuguese Primeira Liga last month, but there's still a few hidden gems at the lower end of Portugal's top flight.

And one such example is none other than Moreirense attacking midfielder Chiquinho. The Portuguese 23-year old has no doubt played a part in Moreirense's fantastic season so far, with the Portuguese club currently placed well above where many would have predicted them to be, sitting in 5th place in the Primeira Liga.

That means that they are on track to qualify for the Europa League, which would be an outstanding achievement for the relatively unknown Portuguese outfit. 

Chiquinho, to put some numbers to his campaign, currently has 5 goals and 6 assists in 25 games for Moreirense, a very decent return for an attacking midfielder, while he has also played every single game, across every single competition, for Moreirense this season.

And after a slow start to the campaign, it's really since the end of October that Chiquinho has come to life, and Moreirense have most certainly been reaping the rewards.

Indeed, his form was recognised by experts and colleagues alike, with Chiquinho voted best young player in the Primeira Liga for the month of October/November, narrowly missing out on the overall best player prize to Sporting's Bas Dost.

Style of play and form

But how does Chiquinho actually play? For starters, like so many Portuguese playmaker, he loves a good dribble, able to charge towards the opposition defence and is happy to use his quick feet to take them on, before either having a shot or giving the ball to one of his teammates. Here's inventive when necessary, using any means necessary to try and get past the defender.

He's a terrific passer too, whether it's from deep or further up the pitch. Here's able to thread the ball through to play in a teammate, or play a long-range pass to pick someone out. His vision is indisputable. With that, he's also happy to hold onto the ball with his back to goal when necessary, linking up well with players around him, while he also often drops deeper to receive the ball to take control of the game and ping it out to others.

And, while neither being the biggest nor the heaviest, you have to give him credit for often showing good strength to keep hold of the ball - and tenacity to win it back.

He doesn't shy away from the big games either; one can recall, for example, his beautiful goal against Benfica back in November, when he curled the ball into the inside side netting from the edge of the box which ultimately kick-started Moreirense's revival and ability to turn the game around to beat Benfica 3-1 at the Luz.

He's been in terrific form recently too - two goals and two assists in the last 4 league outings. One of those assists came against Sporting, where he made a delightful run down the right wing before playing a low cross into the box for Heriberto Tavares to tap in.

A strange transfer history

Another thing to say about Chiquinho is how unusual his career has proved to be so far, with the midfielder being owned by four different clubs in the space of just six months.

Last season, he was loaned out to Academica, who play in Portugal's second tier, from Croatian outfit NK Lokomotiva.

He suitably impressed and Academica decided to make his loan permanent for 150,000 euros in January. Just six months later though, Benfica signed him on a long term contract from Academica for 600,000 euros, an impressive move for the Portuguese.

However, that wasn't the end of it. Despite signing a 5-year contact with Benfica, in that very same month, he then moved to Moreirense as part of an exchange deal that saw Alfa Semedo go in the opposite direction, and he again signed a 5-year contact, this time with Moreirense. Benfica maintained 50% of his economic rights, but lost their man just a month after signing him.

Moving again in the summer seems fitting for a player that has been changing club frequently, with Chiquinho having already been on the books of six different clubs in his relatively short career.

Bruno Lage's managerial record at Benfica is truly incredible

Bruno Lage's managerial record at Benfica is truly incredible

Potential Portugal squad for the upcoming Euro qualifiers

Potential Portugal squad for the upcoming Euro qualifiers