Veloso and Moutinho: when will the Premiership big boys take the plunge?

For the last few years, Miguel Veloso and Joao Moutinho have been two of Europe’s hottest commodities, chased by every top club in Europe. Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa have been linked with at least one of them in the last few seasons, with both of them expected to follow in the footsteps of former Sporting players Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani and jump shores to the Premiership. But at 23, why are both players still at Sporting Lisbon? And is a move to the Premiership likely in the near future?

I will start with Miguel Veloso. Despite Sporting slapping a £19 million price tag on the Portugal international, there is still plenty of interest in the midfielder, despite the dodgy mullet and him looking like a Valon Behrami wannabe. Veloso primarily operates as a defensive midfielder, although he can also play at left back. Possessing a powerful shot, great ability in the air and an outstanding ability to read the game, Veloso is a dominating physical presence in the middle of the park. Despite concerns about his weight and an unhealthy obsession with fashion, Veloso made the Portugal squad for Euro 2008 and is now a regular fixture for club and country.

Arsenal, Bolton and Spurs have been linked with Veloso in the last year, as well as Man United, who have been urged to sign the midfielder by Nani, who believes the Sporting midfielder would be an excellent signing and would excel at Old Trafford.

Joao Moutinho is more of an attacking midfielder than Veloso, and can play behind the striker or on either wing. The Sporting captain is valued at £15 million and is known for his determination, being good on the ball and excellent passing skills. Moutinho is a player in the Deco mould, and nearly signed for Everton a couple of seasons ago. Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal have also been interested in the Portuguese ace in the past.

Both Veloso and Moutinho have proved they can perform well against English opposition: both were instrumental in Sporting’s victory over Everton in the Europa League last month, and the pair are definitely still on the radar of the big Premiership clubs. But at 23, their time is running out for a big money move. If they stay another year in Portugal, then they will be expected to be the finished product and not just a work in progress any more, therefore expectations will be great. There are also the concerns about spending big money on two players who are only proven in the Portuguese league. But then again, Ronaldo and Nani are two players who have came from Portugal and have proved that they can succeed the Premiership, so they should have no problems adapting to the style of the English game. And with Sporting keen to cash in on the pair before it is too late, we could see Veloso and Moutinho appearing in the Premiership next season.

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