Benfica have issued a strongly-worded statement denying several rumours that have been widely reported in the Portuguese press. This morning, Correio da Manhã claimed that President Luís Filipe Vieira had sold the naming rights of the Estádio da Luz to an unspecified Chinese company, in a 10-year deal worth €10 million per year.
The club’s official statement, entitled “100 million of nothing”, begins with the following denial: “There is no €100 million deal – agreed, negotiated or 'closed' – for the renaming of the Estádio da Luz, as Correio da Manhã published today.”
“(It is) fanciful speculation without the least substance, whose publication we regret. (It is) a rude and unnecessary mistake that first of all affects the readers of the newspaper, who have come to see Correio da Manhã as their newspaper of reference.”
After Nico Gaitán’s revelation that he will almost certainly leave the club this summer, speculation has been rife as to who might replace him in the squad. The most popular names in the Portuguese media have been Partizan Belgrade’s Andrija Živković, Braga’s Rafa Silva, and Valencia’s Enzo Pérez. Again, Benfica refuted these rumours in the strongest possible terms.
“There are no negotiations with the family or agents of [Andrija] Živković. There is no contract signed nor to be signed by the player. There is no commitment until 2020. There is absolutely nothing!”
“Despite the many reports in recent days, surely fed by someone with an interest in the process, Sport Lisboa e Benfica are not, nor have been, negotiating for Rafa [Silva] with anyone. There is no process to complete before the European Championship, nor after the European Championship. We respect the player, his quality and his talent, but he does not fit into the club's plans for next season.”
“There are no grounds to the possibility of Enzo Pérez returning to the [Estádio da] Luz.”
The statement ends by addressing the rampant transfer speculation concerning players that are already part of Rui Vitória’s squad: “Despite many reports that detail the sale of the entire squad of SL Benfica, only one player has been sold.”