Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion sent officials to last night’s Champions League clash between Benfica and Besiktas, according to the published list of scouts. In recent years clubs from the Premier League have been sending scouts to the country to get a lowdown on the talent coming through.

A Bola have confirmed both English sides were on the scouting list to see last night’s 1-1 draw in the opening game of this season’s Champions League. Aston Villa and WBA were joined by a number of Premier League sides, as well as European giants like Barcelona and Juventus.

There have been no reports who any of the clubs were watching, and at this stage of the campaign it’s likely they are were just on a general scouting trip.

Portugal in recent years has become popular with scouts across Europe trying to snap up the best talent being produced in the Portuguese leagues. Aston Villa themselves have been active in the country in recent times after they were seen at Braga last season.

Championship clubs like Leeds United have also travelled to Portugal last season, whilst Wolverhampton Wanderers have signed players this summer from Benfica.

The two Midlands clubs may find some of the stars on show are out of their price range, but there’s always a gem or two coming through at Benfica. Aston Villa’s spending both in January and next summer will be hugely influenced by points picked up, and hopeful promotion.

West Brom made several late attempts towards the end of the window to add players, and they too were active in Portugal, failing with a last minute move for Sporting’s William Carvalho.