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.

8 Portuguese and Primeira Liga free agents from July - still free agents or have they found a new club?

8 Portuguese and Primeira Liga free agents from July - still free agents or have they found a new club?

Last month, we looked at eight Portuguese and Primeira Liga players who were without a club after their previous contracts had come to an end and had failed to be renewed.

Some of those were even international footballers, and therefore still have a lot to offer to the game.

Here, we take a look at those eight high-profile names - and look at whether they’ve found a new club, and who they have been linked with over the summer:

Fabio Coentrao

The former Real Madrid star, who has represented Portugal 52 times in his career, is still only 31 years of age and could do a good job for many a side.

Having represented Rio Ave last season, Coentrao was openly disappointed that former club Sporting CP, who he spent the season prior on loan at, did not attempt to sign him on a permanent deal, and he instead had to join the mid-table Primeira Liga outfit.

One year on from that, though, he’s again a free agent, having played 21 of 34 Primeira Liga matches for Rio Ave last term - and he is still a free agent now.

The left back, who is also very capable of playing left wing back or even at left wing, was linked with a move to Brazilian outfit Flamengo early on in the summer window, a move that would have seen him link up with his former manager Jorge Jesus, who coached him at both Benfica and Sporting.

That move never came to fruition, leading to other clubs coming in for him. Cue Greek champions PAOK, who came very close to signing the Portuguese international in July. Coentrao even travelled to Greece for some final formalities but, upon discussing the move with his family, opted not to join Vieirinha at the Greek giants.

There was then another surprise involving Coentrao when FC Porto came in for the former Benfica and Real Madrid star - a move that was greeted with disgruntlement by large portions of the Porto supporters. It was a move that would have seen Coentrao join an exclusive club of players to have represented all three of Portugal’s biggest clubs.

Porto, upon seeing the uproar from high-profile fan groups, came out to say that they were not interested in Coentrao, making it three failed moves out of three so far this summer for Coentrao - and he remains without a club now.


Manuel Fernandes

A name that Everton fans will likely remember very well, the 33-year old midfielder has come off yet another very good season with Lokomotiv Moscow, having led them to glory in the Russian Premier League the season earlier.

Although not quite as successful as that campaign, the talented attacking midfielder played 20 of the club’s 30 league games last season, scoring 4 and assisting 5 in the process as he helped them earn Champions League football for the second year in a row, while he also set up the goal that won Lokomotiv the Russian Cup at the end of May.

However, his time in Russia has come to an end, with the 15-time Portugal international now out of contract and searching for a new club.

There have been suggestions over the summer that he could be set to make a surprise return to Lokomotiv, although that still hasn’t materialised, meaning that he too is still a free agent. Something of a surprise in truth, as Manuel Fernandes is still a player who can offer a lot to many top sides The fact that he would command no transfer fee at all only emphasises the fact that he should really have found a new club by now.

Turkish outfit Goztepe appear to currently be the front-runners to sign him, though his former club Besiktas and fellow Turkish side Galatasaray are also interested.

Manuel Fernandes - REMAINS WITHOUT CLUB.

Miguel Veloso

This wasn’t the first summer that Miguel Veloso was a free agent; last June, his contract expired with Genoa, and he remained without a club for almost 4 months before eventually rejoining the Italian outfit at the end of October.

And this summer, his contract once again expired with Genoa - and on this occasion, they decided not to renew.

Capped 56 times for Portugal, Veloso is a proven and accomplished central midfielder, having represented Portugal at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, as well as at the Euros in 2012, where he helped Portugal reach the semi-final, only to be knocked out by eventual champions Spain on penalties.

Tenacious, composed on the ball and a good reader of the game, it was clear that Veloso still has a huge amount to offer many club’s across the continent.

The defensive midfielder - who is also perfectly adept at being utilised in the left-back position, played 22 of Genoa’s Serie A games in 2017-18 as they secured a 12th place finish in the league. And this season he played nearly as many despite missing the first 3 months of the season, featuring in 21 matches as he helped just about guide Genoa to safety.

He has now signed for newly-promoted Italian side Verona, where he will again link up with former Genoa manager Ivan Juric.

Miguel Veloso - VERONA.


The 33-year old centreback has all the experience you look for in a centreback; with 444 professional appearances at club level to his name, he actually played for Portugal as recently as March 2018, showing that he could still be in and around the fringes of the national team.

Last season wasn’t a particularly successful one for the former Porto defender though. He missed the first third of the season to injury, but quickly became a starter again for Marseille when he returned to full fitness.

However, he was eventually dropped from the team for the final third of the season as well, and as such played just 10 Ligue 1 games all season. He’s a good leader though, and has still got more than enough left in the locker to play for a very respectable club - perhaps back in the Portuguese top flight, or at the lower end of La Liga.

But he is another player that hasn’t had his future resolved.


Ricardo Ferreira

Once considered the future of Portugal’s centreback concerns, how desperately tragic these past three seasons have been for the Braga man.

After a very good 2015-16 campaign where he really cemented himself as a starter for the fourth biggest club in the country, he had an outside chance of making Portugal’s Euro 2016 squad.

But from there, things went down hill quite rapidly for the now 26-year old.

A knee injury kept him out of action for the majority of the 2016-17 campaign, though he did still manage to play 12 of Braga’s Primeira Liga matches that season, ending the season very strongly indeed on a personal level, although ending up on the losing side in 4 out of 7 of his final matches that season.

The following season again started with injury, though he soon came back, and even made his Portugal debut in November 2017. It looked like that could be the start of many for Ferreira, who was still only 25.

But, soon, disaster struck. A recurrence of his knee injury kept him out for the entirety of the second half of the season.

And the most recent 2018-19 campaign was no better - in fact, it was worse. Much worse. That knee injury kept him out of action until January 2019, Ferreira missing the first 4 months of the season. That wasn’t the end of it though. Playing for the Braga B team as he looked to build up fitness, after just 37 minutes of the game, Ferreira damaged his knee again - and he ended up missing the entirety of the season, failing to make a single appearance for the Braga senior team.

As a result, Braga let him go. And it’s such a pity that injuries have destroyed his career. But could there still be hope? Will he manage to return to football again? He is certainly a very talented centreback, and if someone takes a punt on him, it could prove a very shrewd acquisition.

Ricardo Ferreira - REMAINS WITHOUT CLUB.

Yacine Brahimi

The Algerian international, who was away at the African Cup of Nations for most of the summer, most recently played for FC Porto, and was one of their longest serving players until his time with the Portuguese club came to an end this summer.

Having been at Porto since 2014, the 45-time international is set to embark on a new adventure - and his future is expected to only be made clear once the African Cup of Nations comes to a close.

Strong reports emerged from Algeria while he was on international duty that the 29-year old winger was to sign for English Premier League outfit Arsenal when the tournament came to an end, although that move never came to fruition.

Instead, there was some surprise and disappointment that he instead opted to move out of Europe, joining Qatari outfit Al-Rayyan instead. A move that means he’s now out of the public eye in Europe. Will he return later in his career? Only time will tell.

Yacine Brahimi - AL-RAYYAN.

Adrian Lopez

The Spanish international cost FC Porto 11 million euros back in 2014 - and that still only bought the Portuguese giants 60% of his economic rights.

No small fee, and looking back on it, that was one of Porto’s worst value-for-money signings.

Typically so astute at picking up good deals and then selling players on for substantial money later on, Lopez, now 31, leaves on a free transfer, making it a pretty poor investment for Porto.

He did play 52 matches for Porto in those 5 years at the club, scoring 7 and assisting 8 in the process. A relatively decent return for a left midfielder/second striker, though only one of those goals came in the Primeira Liga.

In any case, Lopez is a more than decent footballer, as indicated by the fact that he has even represented the Spanish national team on two occasions, and it didn’t take him too long to find a new club.

Now on the books of La Liga side Osasuna, he should thrive back in his home coutnry, where he will surely be afforded more game time.

Adrian Lopez - OSASUNA.

Maxi Pereira

Most recently at Porto, the Uruguayan international is now without a club - and at the age of 35, is approaching the end of his career.

He’s still a solid enough footballer though, and has enough left in the tank for a final move somewhere. It is unclear where that next destination will be though, with Pereira remaining unattached.

The veteran right back has been linked with a return to South American football, while Carlos Carvalhal’s Rio Ave have also shown interest in the former Benfica player.


Manuel Fernandes. Photo author: Антон Зайцев.  License link.

Manuel Fernandes. Photo author: Антон Зайцев. License link.

João Cancelo closing in on move to the English Premier League

João Cancelo closing in on move to the English Premier League

Benfica win the International Champions Cup

Benfica win the International Champions Cup