In todays post I want to introduce you to the squad we have inherited at Sporting and also some of the best talent we have in the youth teams.
When taking over a club, Its always a good idea to do a full assessment of the whole club top to bottom to truly understand the gaps that need filling and plan a long term succession plan.
The current squad
(Click names to view player profiles)
- Antonio Adan Experienced
A former Real Madrid youth player who made 160 appearances for Real Betis between 2014-18. After 2 years as back up at Atletico Madrid he moved to Sporting where he has been first choice since 2020. At 36 we will be looking for his successor but he will start as first choice.
- Franco Israel Squad player
A Nacional youth player who was bought for €2.2m by Juventus but failed to make the grade. A €650k signing in July 2022 he will serve as a potential breakout star this season.
- Diego Callai Emerging talent
Has been at Sporting since 2015 working his way up through the youth set up to break into the first team squad this season. His first challenge will be to fight Israel for the backup role with an eye on Adan replacement long term.
- Sebastian Coates Experienced
A mainstay at Sporting since his €5m move from Sunderland in 2017. Captain of the club and also a former Liverpool player. At 32 he’s in the twilight of his career but I will be relying on him as we bring through the next generation.
- Goncalo Inacio Star Player
A sporting youth product who has already made over 75 appearances already, he has a release clause and I wonder how long before the big clubs come knocking
- Ousmane Diomande Breakout Star
Signed in January for €7.5m already has the makings of a star player, We need to focus on his development to maximise the potential profit. Previously at Midtjylland, which gives us a potential scouting area to focus on.
- Jerry St Juste Squad player
Signed last summer from Mainz for €10m and having an injury plagued first season. We will be looking to St Juste to show his experience this year.
- Luis Neto Experienced
Joined Sporting in 2019 and is now 35, time isn’t on his side. Entering the final year of his contract we will be looking if he deserves an extension.
- Eduardo Quaresma Emerging Talent
A Sporting youth product will be looking to breakout this season
- Ricardo Esgaio Experienced
A product of Sporting youth system, left the club to play for Braga between 2017-21 but is now back and an important part of the first team.
- Nuno Santos Experienced
A Benfica youth product who never made the break through, Spells at Victoria and Rio Ave earnt him the move to Sporting where he has made 100 appearances. At 28 he still has a few more years in him.
- Matheus Reis Experienced
A Sao Paulo youth product whos worked his way up to the Sporting team after a series of loans.
- Ivan Fresneda Breakout Star
FM23 wonderkid and this summers shock transfer after links to bigger clubs. He had a breakout season at Real Valladolid earning a €9m move to Sporting. He will be one to watch this season.
- Hidemasa Morita Star Player
Earnt the move from Japan to Santa Clara in our division and after impressing got his move to Sporting last summer, following the departure of Ugarte we need him to play a big part.
- Morten Hjulmand Breakout Star
Signed this summer for €18m after a good spell at Leece. Should look to form a partnership with Morita.
- Daniel Braganca Squad player
Youth product who missed the whole of last season with a ACL injury, at 24 he is hitting the period of experienced players in this squad so I want him to make a mark.
- Dario Essugo Breakout Star
Became the clubs youngest ever player and youngest starter in 2021 at 16 years old. A big prospect for the club we need to harness.
- Pedro Goncalves Star Player
Goncalves is a perfect example of the type of player I want to try and recruit in this save, Rose through youth level got a move to Valencia then Wolves. Didn’t make the grade so got a move to Famalicao. Did well there before Sporting bought him and now he’s the main player for them.
- Francisco Trincao Star Player
Another Example of the type of player I want to recruit, He did well at Braga earning a €30m move to Barcelona, his career didn’t really progress there before a loan to Wolves where again he didn’t shine before a loan to Sporting which was made permanent this past summer.
- Marcus Edwards Breakout Star
Tottenham youth product who took his chance abroad at Vitória de Guimarães before earning a €7.67 million move to Sporting where he has shined.
- Geny Squad player
A 22 year old who hasn’t really broke through yet but this season he is getting more gametime. Will need to see how he develops in the game.
- Viktor Gyokeres Star Player
Club record signing this summer at €20m. After a great season at Coventry last year, still only 25 but has also had spells at Brighton, Swansea and St Pauli. We will be looking at him to take the number 9 role for the next few seasons.
- Paulinho Experienced
At the time he was signed for a club record €16m in 2021 and will offer experience in our attack.
Best youth prospects
Remembering how we were going to build our youth squads
4x Centre backs
3 x right footed players for RWB and RDM
3x left footed players for LWB and LDM
4x who can play across the front 3 LW/ST/RW
(Click player name for profile)
We will gradually get there but when we take over Sporting there are 130 players at the club. I want to get that down to 70 (below I’m not including all the players just the stand out ones)
1st team – 22
B team – 16
U23 team – 16
U19 team – 16
Stand out talents
David Ivanov – 17 year old highly rated keeper. Will look to move him up through the ranks
Leonardo Barroso – Both footed fast wing back could be a big prospect in my system
Eduardo Felicissimo – At 16 our coaches rate him the highest potential ability at the club. A potential deep playmaker in the midfield or even roaming.
Joao Simoes – 16 year old skilful and technical central midfielder a potential playmaker
Rodrigo Ribeiro – potential future number 9 but may look to retrain him to LW inside forward as this looks like the easiest route for him to get in the first team.
Gabriel Silva – One other reason to move Ribeiro out wide is so the pathway is open for the potential elite finisher.
Geovany Quenda – Could he be the next great Sporting Winger? The coaches think so
Alfonso Moreria – A winger on the verge of the first team
Centre Back stands out as an area for long term succession planning. Neto is likely to retire in the summer, Coates is getting older, Diomande and Inacio are two hot prospects who I think we will struggle to keep hold of. Then there is Goalkeeper, Adan is ageing and probably will be our backup going forward and none of the youth prospects look ready. Every other area looks to have at least one potential long term talent coming through. So our early transfer plans look like finding a Goalkeeper and two centre backs for summer 2024.
I will set up so recruitment focuses and report back in a future post and we will track the best of these talents going forward.