Everyone is talking about league leaders Famalicão who have won five and drawn one of their six games. Just ten years ago they had dropped into the fifth-tier of Portuguese football playing in local competitions but returned to the Segunda Liga five years ago.
In May they secured promotion to the top flight where they were expected to struggle but for the past year they have been partly owned by Quantum Pacific Group, fronted by the Israeli shipping magnate Idan Ofer, whose wealth is valued by Forbes at $5.1billion (€4.6bn). His investment has been considerable and he increased his share in the club from 51 percent to 85 percent earlier this month.
A summer overhaul of playing personnel resulted in nineteen new signings and a similar number depart. The calibre of some of those brought in has raised a few eyebrows and that is because of not only the riches of Ofer, who also has a thirty-two percent stake in Atlético Madrid, but the influence of super agent Jorge Mendes and his Gestifute agency.
Portugal under-21 winger Diogo Goncalves and attacking midfielder Guga, summer arrivals from Benfica, are both Mendes clients. Pedro Goncalves and Roderick Miranda have come in from Wolverhampton Wanderers, another club who Mendes has close ties with. 19-year-old defensive midfielder Gustavo Assunção, who has joined from Atlético Madrid, the Spanish club Mendes’ most exciting prodigy, João Felix, joined for €115m over the summer.
Two acquisitions came in from England. The Portuguese winger Ruben Lameiras, a former Spurs youth player before spells at Coventry City and Plymouth Argyle and Josh Tymon, the England under-20 international left-back, has joined on-loan from Championship club Stoke City. It was Ruben Lameiras who scored the equaliser against Sporting before Diogo Gonçalves’ cross was diverted into his own net by Sebastián Coates’ to give Famalicão another priceless victory. Whether a small town club that averages crowds of 4,960 can really smash the glass ceiling and finish above the mighty Porto, Benfica and Sporting remains to be seen.