With just 10 days remaining before the transfer window slams shut, we summarise the most credible transfer rumours concerning Benfica. In the first of this two-part analysis, we take a look at the club’s transfer targets.
Following the arrival of Ivan Šaponjić last week, Benfica continue to scour the Serbian market for young talent. The latest names to be linked are Andrija Živković (pictured above left) and Luka Jović (above right).
Andrija Živković is a 19-year old winger that plays for Partizan Belgrade. At 17, he became the youngest player to appear for the Serbian national team, and the youngest player to captain Partizan. The pacy wide-man excelled for Serbia as they won the U20 World Cup in 2015. Živković has 24 goals and 13 assists in 93 games for Partizan.
Luka Jović is an 18-year old centre-forward owned by Partizan's fierce rivals Red Star Belgrade. He scored on his professional debut aged 16, becoming the youngest goalscorer in the club's history. Since then, the young striker has amassed 48 senior appearances, scoring 13 goals. Jović missed Serbia's U20 World Cup triumph through injury.
The attacking duo are regarded as the future of the Serbian national team, and competition for their signatures is high. Besides Benfica, Jović has been linked with Sporting, Arsenal and Dortmund, while Živković has attracted interest from PSG, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Dortmund (A Bola, Record, O Jogo, ESPN, L’Equipe, Telegraph, The Independent).
Another young player interesting the club is 17-year old centre-back Branimir Kalaica. The Croatian is a member of Dinamo Zagreb's youth team and a current U19 international. If signed, he is likely to continue his development with Benfica B (A Bola).
Closer to home, Benfica have been tracking Portuguese starlet Diogo Jota. The 19-year old attacking midfielder has impressed for Paços de Ferreira this season, scoring 4 goals in 17 league games. Representatives from no fewer than 13 clubs watched Jota in action against Vitória de Setúbal earlier this month, including scouts from Arsenal, Aston Villa, West Ham and Barcelona.
Jota has 5 goals in 9 games for Portugal's U19 side, and made his U21 debut in November. The youngster is expected to fetch around 1.5 million Euros, and may be loaned back to Paços for the remainder of the season. Jota is represented by Portuguese 'super-agent' Jorge Mendes, which may work in Benfica's favour (CaughtOffside, A Bola).
Benfica are also rumoured to be interested in Portuguese international defender Raphaël Guerreiro, who currently plies his trade for Lorient. The French-born 22-year old has represented the Seleção three times, scoring once against Argentina. The attacked-minded left-back can also be deployed on the left-wing, and has scored 8 goals in 91 games for Lorient. A deal seems unlikely considering reported interest from PSG and Porto, and given the recent arrival of left-back Álex Grimaldo from Barcelona (Mercato365).