Hammers scout eyes up potential January targets on Algarve trip
West Ham scouted some potential targets for the next transfer window on Sunday when their official saw Porto’s 3-2 win over Portimonense in the Algarve.
The Hammers have done some good business when signing players from Portugal in recent years with young defender Goncalo Cardoso the most recent acquisition from Boavista.
The 18-year-old centre-back joined on a five-year deal in August, and, although he hasn’t yet made a first-team appearance, remains highly-rated in his homeland.
Last January, the club completed the capture of Portugal Under-20 international forward Mesaque Dju from Benfica and months before added Xande Silva from Vitoria de Guimaraes for an undisclosed fee.
Although he is no longer with the club, Domingos Quina was another shrewd Portuguese acquisition back in 2016 so there is no doubt that Hammers scouts have got their eyes on the rising stars from the country that currently reign as European Champions and Nations League holders.
Porto’s academy is known to be a huge talent factory and their Under-19 side’s Uefa Youth League win last April gave Premier League scouts plenty to think about.
Young striker Fabio Silva is the jewel in their crown but he only came off the bench in injury time on Sunday and hardly touched the ball.
All-action midfielder Romario Baro did not feature at all because of an injury and so the Hammers scouting trip probably focused on two experienced stars of the Porto side who have previously been linked to the club.
Moussa Marega has been strongly linked to the London Stadium in the past with reports in March, April and July suggesting West Ham was the most likely destination for the striker with a 40m euros release clause.
That ship has now sailed with the club investing in the younger Sebastian Haller from Eintracht Frankfurt and with back-up striker Alban Ajeti also signed from Basel it would seem as though Marega would no longer be on the club’s wanted list.
Defensive midfielder Danilo Pereira was also understood to be a target back in 2017 when talks to sign Wllliam Carvalho from Sporting broke down.
The 28-year-old remains a stable influence on the Porto side, but he won’t come cheap with almost three years left on his contract at the Estadio do Dragao.