West Ham United continue to do some constant scouting work in Portugal, especially when watching Lisbon side Benfica.
After having emissaries at several of the Eagles’ games this season, including big ones like against Man United and Porto, the Hammers have watched a less important match this time, in a cup tie against Rio Ave.
The West Ham scouts made it all the way to the North of Portugal, and in case they were expecting good things from Benfica, it turned out to be quite a disappointing night for them.
Rui Vitória’s side ended up being eliminated from the cup with a 3-2 loss in extra time, and continue to have a poor season after crashing out of the Champions League with six defeats.
West Ham have been mainly linked to one Benfica player recently, and that’s Raul Jimenez. Reports from the summer said both the Hammers and Everton would want the player, but the price demanded by the Eagles stopped him from leaving.
Jimenez started the match on the bench, was brought on after 70 minutes, but wasn’t able to do much. O Jogo gave him a rating of 5 out of 10 for running and trying to create spaces, but he had ‘little effiency’.
Meanwhile, Rio Ave did great with huge displays from goalkeeper Cássio and midfielder Francisco Geraldes, both with responsibility for the club’s important and unlikely result.
It’s O Jogo who reported West Ham’s presence at the Estádio dos Arcos, and they were not alone. Officials from Manchester United, Watford, Celta de Vigo and Montpellier were present at Rio Ave’s ground as well.