Photo: Sporting Club de Portugal

Photo: Sporting Club de Portugal

Overview: Sporting Lisbon will be heading into this year with a lot of optimism. The club is coming off a solid season where they finished second in the table. They are not expected to lose many key players this summer. And its financial troubles appear to be a thing of the past.

But concerns do exist. Highly-rated midfielder William Carvalho is reportedly receiving some enticing offers from abroad and could still leave the club. And there is always a sense of uncertainty around a coaching change. Marco Silva did wonders with limited resources at Estoril, but will he be able to handle a squad with more talent and more egos?

Also, Sporting will be playing in the Champions League this season. Do they have the squad depth to compete in four different competitions this season, while still keeping with team president Bruno de Carvalho’s commitment to financial discipline?

The club signed some intriguing players this summer, including forward Junya Tanaka, midfielder Oriol Rosell and Ryan Gauld. And they always have plenty of quality players in their academy.

Sporting Lisbon has not won the Primeira Liga since the 2001-02 season. They will begin their pursuit of ending that drought when they face Académica in Coimbra on August 16th.

Key Additions: André Geraldes (Belenenses), Slavchev (Litex), Paulo Oliveira (V. Guimarães), Oriol Rosell (Kansas City), Tanaka (Kashima Reysol), Ryan Gauld (Dundee United), João Mário (V. Setúbal), Ramy Rabia(Al-Ahly), Mouhamadou-Naby Sarr (Lyon), Jonathan Silva (Estudiantes)

Key Subtractions: Elias (Corinthians), Weldinho (Palmeiras), Ivan Piris, Gerson Magrão, Wilson Eduardo (Dinamo Zagreb), Zézinho (AEL Limassol), Victor Golas (Braga), Miguel Lopes, Rinaudo (Catania), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Diogo Salomão (Deportivo)

Manager Profile: 37-year-old Marco Silva takes over Sporting Lisbon this season after an excellent three seasons at Lisbon suburban club Estoril-Praia. Silva, who played for the club as a right-back for several seasons, helped them achieve promotion to the Primeira Liga in 2012 as manager. He followed that up with fifth and forth place finishes the last two seasons. He replaces Leonardo Jardim who moved on to AS Monaco.

Players To Watch: William Carvalho was the best player in the Portuguese league last season. If he does in fact remain with the club, it should be a pleasure to watch him play against Europe’s best in the Champions League. João Mário, Ryan Gauld and Carlos Mané are all exciting young players as well. Midfielders André Martins and Adrien Silva will need to be at their best if Sporting is to achieve something this season.

Expectations: Sporting Lisbon will hope to win the Primeira Liga for the first time in over a decade. As well as, advance past the group stage of the Champions League. The club has not won a trophy of any kind since the Portuguese Cup in 2007-08 and the pressure is mounting.

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