There is little doubting Benfica’s scouting network in South America and the Portuguese giants’ latest target is reportedly River Plate’s Tomás Andrade.
Benfica are said to have contacted the player’s father and his agent but are yet to make an official approach to River, who will be looking for the $15 million that his latest contract dictates is his release clause.
The 20-year-old has progressed under Marcelo Gallardo in the past year and performed an important squad role, often as understudy to the experienced Andrés D’Alessandro.
With D’Alessandro now returned to Internacional, opportunities in the first team could be far greater for Andrade and Gallardo is keen to retain the services of the youngster ahead of an important 2017 with Copa Libertadores commitments.
Not dissimilar to D’Alessandro, Andrade is a technically gifted midfield player with an excellent left foot and from a very young age has been one of the jewels in River’s academy.
A move to Portugal would not be Andrade’s first steps in Europe after trials with Atlético Madrid and Barcelona as a 10-year-old and more recently a loan spell with Bournemouth. Eddie Howe’s newly promoted side took the player on loan in September 2015 but with no signs of first team involvement it was agreed by all parties that Andrade would return to Buenos Aires.
While River wait to see if Benfica are serious in their pursuit, Gallardo and his squad travel to the United States for a preseason tournament and play Colombian side Millonarios on January 15th.