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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

Transfer talk: Rafa Silva signs for Benfica; Galastaray poach MLS midfielder

Portuguese international winger Rafa Silva on Thursday signed for Benfica from Sporting Braga on a five-year deal worth €16 million (Dh65.5m), both clubs confirmed.
Rafa Silva trains with Portugal in Lisbon on August 31, 2016. Inacio Rosa / AFP
Rafa Silva trains with Portugal in Lisbon on August 31, 2016. Inacio Rosa / AFP

• More: The National’s Transfer Talk page

Portuguese international winger Rafa Silva on Thursday signed for Benfica from Sporting Braga on a five-year deal worth €16 million (Dh65.5m), both clubs confirmed.

The sum paid for the 23-year-old is a record between Portuguese clubs surpassing the 11 million euros paid in 2010 by FC Porto to Sporting Lisbon for Joao Moutinho.

The deal with reigning three-time Portuguese champions Benfica followed protracted negotiations during which both clubs criticised the demands of the player’s agent as excessive.

Capped nine times, Silva helped Portugal win the European title in July. He opted for Benfica despite interest from league rivals FC Porto.

Silva turned professional in 2012 with modest Portuguese club Feirense before joining Braga the following year.

Benfica also agreed the transfer of Portuguese striker Rui Fonte to Sporting Braga for three seasons and loaned Argentine winger Oscar Benitez to the club for a year.

Turkish giants sign Dutch midfielder from MLS

Netherlands international Nigel de Jong has signed a two year deal with Istanbul giants Galatasaray, saying he wanted to return to Europe after just half a year with MLS outfit LA Galaxy.

The famously hard-tackling defensive midfielder will receive a guaranteed salary of €2.5 million (Dh10.2m) for each of the seasons along with bonuses after arriving on a free transfer, the club said in a statement.

“I stayed six months in Los Angeles. I wanted to return to Europe again. I love football and I am a football guy. Galatasaray gave me the chance to return to a European atmosphere,” de Jong told Galatasaray’s in house TV channel.

The move will unite de Jong with his Netherlands teammate and Galatasaray stalwart since 2013, the striker Wesley Sneijder.

“I am very happy to be playing in the same team as him. He is a great fighter and someone who loves to win,” said de Jong, adding he had called Sneijder ahead of the move.

De Jong’s combative style — as seen in his notorious chest high studs-out challenge on Spain’s Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final — did not always go down well in the MLS and may find a better home in the rough-and-tumble of the Turkish Super Lig.

His presence should reinforce the back line of Galatasaray who could manage only sixth in the Super Lig last season.

In other deals in Turkey announced before the end of the transfer window, Senegal’s international striker Moussa Sow joined Galatasaray’s arch Istanbul rivals and 2015-2016 Super Lig runners-up Fenerbahce on a one year loan deal from Egypt’s Al-Ahly.

Sow played for Fenerbahce from 2012-2015 in a successful stint. “Welcome back to your home,” said the club.

Meanwhile, league champions Besiktas of Istanbul said they had acquired Turkish centre back Atinc Nukan on a one year loan from RB Leipzig of Germany.

Nukan had grown up with Besiktas in its youth system and then played five seasons in its senior team.

Outside of Istanbul, Dutch international midfielder Adam Maher joined Osmanlispor of Ankara on a one year loan deal.

But the biggest rumoured deal for a Turkish side failed to come to fruition, with France’s Samir Nasri opting to join Sevilla on a one year loan from Manchester City and not Besiktas as had been speculated.

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