The Portuguese league is full of wonderkids, and many of those are already being pursued by several European sharks.

It’s a major priority amongst Portuguese football clubs to develop these youngsters, especially with the growing financial cuts in buying foreign players. And it’s not only the smaller clubs who have increased the investment in the youth teams: former league champions such as Porto and Sporting keep a very keen eye on home grown talents.

Here are two of the brightest Portuguese talents to recently emerge and capture admiring glances from some of Europe’s elite

Renato Júnior Luz Sanches “The Torpedo”: Carrying SL Benfica on his back.

One of those youngsters is the 18 years-old Renato Sanches. There’s no way he can be seen as an ordinary player: his dreadlocks remind us of a young Edgar Davids – and let’s be honest, he was a real “Pitbull”. Sanches is no Davids for now, but surely assembles him in features. Side by side with Fejsa or Samaris as Central or even as Defensive Midfielder, Renato Sanches is in the perfect position to do the same thing as Matic and Ramires did in the Benfica’s Midfield: stand out. And boy, he has done that with perfection!

Highlighted by Rui Vitoria (Benfica’s head coach), Sanches has at present scored two very impressive goals, both from outside the box, and the last one managed to save Benfica from a disappointing draw. Gifted with a mighty torpedo that astonishes any of the opponent teams’ goalkeepers, in addition to an amazing passing ability and an irreverence that simply excites the supporters, Sanches is one most promising Portuguese Prospects for the future.

And Benfica recognises the talent: Sanches is protected with a release clause of (hold on to your seats) near €80 Million (about £60 Million). And United have already begun scouting the player. Will they be able to sign this wonderkid, paying Benfica an exorbitant amount for Sanches? Right now, it’s craziness. In a few years, it’s a bargain.

My evaluation:

Stamina Level: 6/10

Shooting: 7/10

Pace: 6,5/10

Heading: 5/10

Tackling: 5,5/10

Teamwork: 6/10

Overall: 6/10

Potential: 9/10

Rúben Diogo da Silva Neves “The Panzer”: Icing the midfield.

There is only one player in FC Porto that truly knows how it feels to be a real Porto supporter: the 18 years-old homemade prospect Rúben Neves. It was a surprise for all the football lovers when a totally unknown kid showed up in the starting eleven against Arouca in September.

A personal bet of the sacked Julen Lopetegui that really paid off – and the kid rose to break Rafael Van der Vaart’s record in the Champions League, becoming the youngest captain in this competition, with only 18 years and 221 days of age.

In his own words: ‘I was many times a ball boy in Estadio do Dragão, and now to be on the other side.. It’s a dream. It’s truly a goal to anyone from the youth teams.” But what does this wonderkid have that the other youngsters don’t?

Well, besides being a true supporter, he is an aggregation of passing and tackling, making him a valuable asset in Porto’s first team. Delegating the defensive tasks to Danilo Pereira, Neves could stand out as the playmaker that Porto really needed.

Yes, it’s true that Neves doesn’t have the irreverence and “flames” that Renato Sanches has: Rúben Neves is much more “ice”, a “Panzer” that manages to control the pace of the game whenever and however he wants.

Porto are indeed very grateful to have a player that controls the game and gives the strikers much needed freedom. He may not score, but his passing it’s a delight to watch.

And let’s be honest: a team that has the Sanches’ torpedo and the “Panzer” is a team to be feared. And apparently there is only one team that might have them both in the future: The Portuguese national team. So watch out for them.

€40 Million (£30,5 Million): that’s the price that FC Porto asks for this wonderkid. But that’s no obstacle to English sharks: Arsenal simply love him, and reports say that Wenger has ordered an approach of €31,5 Million to sign him. It seems though that that’s a small amount to pay for the winner of the Portuguese Youngster of the Year (2015).

FC Porto will be reluctant to sell their most promising player: however, Porto’s chairman Pinto da Costa has confirmed that if the right offer arrives, there will be no other option but to let the youngster go. The question now is: how far are Arsenal willing to go to sign the “Panzer”?

My Evaluation

Stamina Level: 8/10

Shooting: 5/10

Pace: 6/10

Heading: 6/10

Tackling: 7,5/10

Teamwork: 7,5/10

Overall (with bonus for captaincy): 7/10

Potential: 9,5/10″

About the author – Luis Costa

Luis has a great passion for football and has been playing Soccer Manager for 5 years. He played semi-professional football for 13 years and is currently a regional referee in Madeira’s football association.



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