The transfer window has only just closed but for the scouts attached to Premier League clubs, the hard work never ends; a fact proven by the sighting of representatives from Crystal Palace at Porto’s 5-0 home victory over Chaves on Saturday.
Whilst the vast majority of Eagles fans were very happy with the business conducted by the club throughout the summer, everyone knows that the focus will soon shift to the identity of our targets in January, making trips across Europe essential if we are to get ahead of the game.
Given the early stage of the season, it’s impossible to get a steer on who Palace were watching, if indeed they even had their eye on anyone specific but according to reports in the Portuguese press, 28-year-old Frenchman Yacine Brahimi was superb throughout on the wing, bagging the third of home side’s five goals just before the half-time whistle sounded.
The game’s other star performers were Porto’s Cameroonian number nine Vincent Aboubakar, who managed to notch the opening two goals of the game inside the first 20 minutes and Porto stalwart Sergio Oliveira, who performed beautifully in the middle of the park, even managing to get an assist to his name with the fifth goal of the night in the 88th minute.
Over the years, Portugal has become known as a rather well-priced and fruitful market for English clubs, even though clubs like Porto, Sporting CP and Benfica are often looking to squeeze every last drop of value out of their brightest and best players when the time comes to let them go.
Luckily for Palace, our current first-team squad is rather well stacked in terms of depth, allowing our scouts to take in the game as a whole before making too many judgments on who may or may not be of interest to us in the New Year.
Watch this space.