Colombian forward Cristian Arango has joined the Eagles from Millionarios for an undisclosed fee. The 22-year old is the first player to move between Millionarios and Benfica since the two teams announced a new sporting partnership last November. The Colombian club is believed to have retained a 50% share of the player’s economic rights. Arango is not entirely new to Europe, having spent the 2015/16 season with Valencia B. He has signed a five-year contract with Benfica. You can read more about his attributes here.
English youth international Chris Willock arrives from Arsenal on a free transfer, after the expiry of his contract with the Gunners. Like Arango, he has penned a five-year deal with Benfica. The 19-year old left winger had been playing his club football with Arsenal’s under-23 side, and is a regular for England at under-19 level. Borussia Dortmund, Celtic and Manchester City were all reported to be keen on the youngster, so Willock’s capture is something of a coup for the Encarnados. For more information on the player, click here.
Benfica have brought Bruno Varela back to the Estádio da Luz from Vitória de Setúbal by activating his €100,000 buyback clause. The Lisbon-born goalkeeper came through the youth ranks at the Caixa Futebol Campus, playing 85 games for Benfica B between 2012 and 2015. After returning from an ill-fated loan spell in Spain with Real Valladolid, Varela signed a long-term contract with Setúbal. Following an impressive 2016/17 season in the Liga NOS, Benfica have opted to bring Varela home. He was Portugal’s first choice stopper at the under-21 European Championships in Poland this summer.
In other news, the Eagles have completed the signing of Luquinhas from Vilafranquense. The 20-year old Brazilian represented Benfica B last season, and has now made his loan move permanent. Luquinhas arrived as a winger, but was also deployed as a fullback in the Segunda Liga in 2016/17.
Although there has been no official confirmation from the club, Nacional da Madeira’s Salvador Agra has been pictured in a Benfica shirt at the Estádio da Luz. Nacional are alleged to have ‘donated’ him to the club as a means of settling an old debt. The 25-year old winger has already represented Varzim, Olhanense, Real Betis, Siena, Braga, Académica and Nacional in a nomadic career to date. He will soon be able to add another club to that list, as the Encarnados are expected to farm him out on loan, with Sporting Gijón a possible destination.
Meanwhile, two players have left Benfica on a permanent basis. 25-year old defensive midfielder Pelé has signed a five-year deal with Rio Ave. The Guinea-Bissau international is the second player to move to the Estádio dos Arcos in a matter of weeks, following the recent transfer of Nuno Santos. Benfica owed €12 million to Rio Ave following Ederson’s €40 million sale to Manchester City, but Miguel Cardoso’s men appear to have settled for a cash-plus-players arrangement instead.
Austria Vienna have recruited Kevin Friesenbichler from Benfica after a successful two-year loan spell in the Austrian capital. Friesenbichler failed to make a single appearance in Portugal after arriving on a free transfer from Bayern Munich in 2014. He was loaned out to Polish outfit Lechia Gdańsk in 2014/15, before returning to his homeland with the club he represented as a youth player between 2008 and 2009.