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Man Utd, West Ham and Villa seek targets in Portugal top flight

| 04.01.2016

Rewind back to last season and the Premier League made a habit of raiding the Portuguese top flight for some of its top talent.

Manchester City captured both Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando, Manchester United bought Marcos Rojo, Liverpool signed Lazar Markovic and Tottenham picked up a bargain with Eric Dier.

For some reason, the Primeira Liga was pretty much ignored for new recruits this summer, with the only purchases being Southampton getting Cedric Soares and Swansea signing Eder.

Neither have done a great deal of note in this campaign, but that isn’t expected to dampen enthusiasm for other Premier League clubs looking to bring in some new recruits from Portugal.

Here are three possible January signings:

Renato Sanches to Man Utd

In less than three months, 18-year-old Sanches has developed from a Benfica B player to a staple of the first team. He has already made his Champions League debut and scored two senior goals.

He is not overly dissimilar to Edgar Davids in terms of appearance (without the sunglasses) or playing style and he is probably best utilised in a box-to-box role at present.

Sanches is strong physically, decent in possession, has plenty of youthful enthusiasm and carries an unpredictability that makes him tricky to stop.

Diogo Jota to West Ham

Jota is another teenager making waves, improving rapidly after being handed his debut for Pacos de Ferreira last season as a 17-year-old.

He is now a key cog in the first team, at his most dangerous playing as a support striker, where he can use his close control and dribbling to have an impact in the final third.

Jota could prove a perfect foil for Andy Carroll with the Hammers, who do not have a true number 10 in their ranks as Dimitri Payet often starts in the wide positions.

Suk Hyun-Jun to Aston Villa

Nine goals for Vitoria Setubal so far this season means Suk only trails Benfica’s Jonas and Sporting’s Algerian striker Islam Slimani in the Portuguese top-flight scoring stakes.

Villa face competition from the Bundesliga and from Celtic for his signature, with the 24-year-old South Korean already enjoying his most prolific club campaign to date.

He has all of the attributes to make him a complete striker, providing a threat in the air, good acceleration, cool finishing and the awareness to set up others.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.