Newcastle United and Middlesbrough represented the North East of England last night at the Benfica versus Borussia Dortmund game. The two clubs had officials at the match, report O Jogo, scouting talents far ahead of the summer transfer window.
Rafael Benitez and Aitor Karanka standing any chance of signing one of the players on show will surely depend on Premier League status. Newcastle United are currenlty top of the Championship and confident of promotion, and Middlesbrough are two points clear of the relegation zone. As it stands, everything is just about fine.
Benfica beat Dortmund 1-0 in the Champions League round of 16 match and there were a few very exciting talents on show who could interest Benitez and Karanka. Kostas Mitroglou scored the only goal of the game, and whilst he failed to shine at Fulham, the Greek forward is an important player for Benfica.
Middlesbrough have been linked to Victor Lindelof in the past, but the alleged interest of bigger clubs has likely pushed his price out of reach. Newcastle United were linked with Andre Carrillo when he was at Sporting, the left winger then saw his contract run down and signed for Lisbon rivals Benfica.
Carrillo could be a conceivable target for either club because Benfica would make clear profit on a sale, allowing them to balance the books as they do each summer.
On the right wing Benfica had Salvio, who has been linked to Sunderland previously. Playing behind Mitroglou was Rafa Silva, long linked with a move to the Premier League.
In May 2016, when Rafa was still at Braga, the player’s agent told Sport Witness: “Our client, Rafa Silva, sees with very good eyes the possibility of playing in the Premier League. We are working towards achieving this objective.”
The 23 year old cost Benfica around £15m, and if they were offered a good and quick profit they may accept. Rafa would be great for either Newcastle or Middlesbrough, but the clubs would have a job to convince him of their future plans.
Rafa Silva is primarily a right footed left winger, cutting in from wide areas, but he can also play behind the front man.
Newcastle United have scouted in Portugal repeatedly this season, mainly watching Benfica and Porto. Middlesbrough aren’t one of the Premier League clubs most often in Portugal but did have a spell scouting Benfica last year.