André Moreira

Ederson continues to impress in a Benfica shirt, and despite renewing his contract last month, it would be no surprise if he were to move on in the summer. Manchester City may be at the front of the queue to secure his services; they are in dire need of a new goalkeeper, and Pep Guardiola is clearly a fan of ball-playing goalkeepers, of which the Brazilian is certainly one. If the 23-year old departs before the start of next season, who is likely to replace him?

VANJA MILINKOVIĆ-SAVIĆ

As reported by the Portuguese and Italian press, the Eagles made a concerted effort to lure Vanja Milinković-Savić to Portugal during the January transfer window. The 19-year old Serbian goalkeeper is truly a giant, standing at 6'8", and was previously on the books at Manchester United, but was released after failing to obtain a UK work permit.

Ultimately, Milinković-Savić rejected Benfica to sign for Serie A side Torino, who are believed to have presented a more attractive financial package to both the player and his club, Lechia Gdańsk. 

Benfica's interest was more than just paper talk, however, as the player himself has since revealed:

"Benfica were very interested in signing me. I'm flattered by the fact that a club of the size of Benfica wanted my services. Maybe another time... it's a great club."

After missing out on the Serbian, Benfica have drawn up a three-man shortlist in their hunt for a new goalkeeper, according to O Jogo. All three players are Portuguese youth internationals with immense potential.

ANDRÉ MOREIRA

Moreira was born and raised near Braga, and began his youth career with his local team, Ribeirão. Like many talented young players associated with Benfica, he is represented by Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes. Moreira signed up to Mendes' Gestifute agency back in August 2014, after impressing at the under-19 European Championships that summer. He was promptly transferred to Atlético Madrid, and then loaned to Moreirense.

The 6'5" stopper made little impact in Moreira de Cónegos, making just two appearances, both in the Taça da Liga. It was in the 2015/16 season that Moreira got his big breakthrough, on loan at União da Madeira. He kept nine clean sheets in 19 games for the islanders, before his campaign was cruelly ended by a meniscal injury. This season, he was loaned out to Belenenses, but was swiftly recalled after an injury to Atlético's reserve goalkeeper, Miguel Ángel Moyà. He has been warming Atlético's bench ever since.

The 21-year old has represented Portugal at under-19 and under-20 level, and made his debut for Rui Jorge's under-21 side against Lichtenstein last October.

Likelihood of a deal: Atlético and Benfica have an excellent relationship, thanks in no small part to Jorge Mendes. Barely a summer goes by without the two clubs trading players, so do not be surprised to see Moreira at the Estádio da Luz next season.

JOEL PEREIRA

Pereira is the youngest of the three candidates, having turned 20 last June. He was born in Switzerland, and began his footballing education with local team Neuchâtel Xamax, before he was picked up by Manchester United in 2012. Before this season, his only taste of senior football was an eight-game loan spell with League One outfit Rochdale in 2015.

This term, Pereira played ten matches on loan at Benfica's near-neighbours Belenenses. The 6'2" goalkeeper kept four clean sheets and conceded just nine goals in ten matches, prompting José Mourinho to recall his compatriot and integrate him into his first team squad. At the end of January, Pereira made his United debut in the 4-0 FA Cup win over Wigan Athletic, replacing Sergio Romero as a late substitute. Days later, disaster struck, as Pereira damaged knee ligaments in a youth team fixture. It is unclear whether he will play again this season.

The youngster represented Switzerland from under-15 to under-17 level, but subsequently switched his allegiances to Portugal, appearing for every age group from the under-17s to the under-21s.

Likelihood of a deal: Manchester United and Benfica are not renowned for doing business together, but that could be about to change, as José Mourinho's agent is none other than Jorge Mendes! The Red Devils are thought to covet Victor Lindelöf and Nélson Semedo, so Pereira could be used as a makeweight in any deal involving one or both players.

MIGUEL SILVA

Silva started his youth career with CD Ponte and then Vizela, before joining hometown club Vitória de Guimarães in 2013. After making a handful of appearances for their B team, he was handed his first team debut in November 2015, in the 2-1 league victory over northern rivals Boavista.

Aged 21, Silva has already played 29 senior games for Os Conquistadores, which makes him the most experienced of the three young goalkeepers. Conversely, he is the least experienced at international level, having made just a solitary appearance for Portugal's Olympic side.

This season, the 6'2" stopper has lost his place at Guimarães to his veteran teammate Douglas, but he has still featured in the Taça da Liga and Taça de Portugal.

Likelihood of a deal: Benfica are on good terms with Guimarães, as Rui Vitória spent four years as head coach at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques between 2011 and 2015. Also, Guillermo Celis has just joined the club on loan, so the two teams are not averse to doing business together.

BENFIQUISTAS HAVE THEIR SAY

We conducted a 24-hour Twitter poll to discover which of these three young goalkeepers the Benfica fans would most like the club to recruit, should Ederson bid farewell in the summer. 235 supporters participated, and Moreira and Pereira proved equally popular, with both players receiving 31% of the vote. Miguel Silva was far less popular; only 17% of supporters would like to see the Guimarães goalkeeper in a Benfica jersey. 21% were dissatisfied with all three options.

Category: 



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