Huddersfield Town, Southampton and Watford all reportedly sent scouts to Portugal this weekend, where they watched Paços de Ferreira playing Sporting in the local league.
It’s O Jogo who reports the emissaries’ trips, although it’s not said who the Premier League clubs would be watching this time.
Sporting won the game 2-1 with goals from Rodrigo Battaglia and Gelson Martins, while Paços only found the net in additional time with Marco Baixinho.
Who were they watching?
None of these Premier League clubs are regular visitors in Portugal. Actually, Huddersfield are the only one who have watched Sporting this season. Southampton and Watford often do scouting trips, but saw the Lions for the first time.
None of them have been recently linked strongly to Sporting players, so it would be hard to guess if they were keeping an eye on a special target this Sunday.
€60m winger in the spotlight again
Sporting’s good defensive display was much credited to the former Barcelona defender Jérémy Mathieu, who despite getting close to retirement, has been having good games in Portugal.
Gelson Martins continues shining as well, now with six goals and six assists this season. But his departure still sounds quite unlikely, as Sporting reportedly demand €60m for him.
Fabio Coentrão, Rodrigo Battaglia and Bruno Fernandes were other players whose performances were praised by the local media.
For the home side, Mabil got a positive mention for his constant attacking threats.
Big boys company
The Premier League clubs weren’t alone in the stands. As reported by O Jogo, St Etienne, Rennes, Toulouse, Troyes, Lens, Sassuolo, Atalanta, PAOK, Legia Warsaw, Borussia Dortmund and Monaco all had officials at the game.
Southampton have been scouting Portuguese football for some years, with it rising under Ronald Koeman, but their trips had gone quiet recently. The Portuguese press love pinpointing Watford trips due to Marco Silva, and Huddersfield keep popping back after signing Laurent Depoitre from Porto.
This time the target is unknown.