Back in June, it seemed that Bruno Varela was set to become the latest fresh-faced Portuguese starlet to join the Iberian invasion at Nottingham Forest.
Aided by the super-agent Jorge Mendes, Forest brought Diogo Goncalves, Gil Dias and £13 million record signing Joao Carvalho to the City Ground during a hectic transfer window. And, according to Record, the highly-rated Benfica goalkeeper was set to follow in their footsteps.
It was claimed that Forest were big fans of the £13 million-rated Varela (Record) and were hopeful of sealing a deal in early August.
Instead, however, Aitor Karanka’s side took the decidedly cheaper option of signing Luke Steele on a free transfer while making Costel Pantilimon their number one. And they might have dodged a very expensive bullet.
Varela might have started 31 games in Portugal’s top flight and the Champions League last season but he has fallen dramatically out of favour since then. Greek stopper Odisseas Vlachodimos is now firmly established as Benfica’s number one and Varela has dropped to fourth choice in the pecking order.
The 23-year-old has been left out of Benfica’s match day squad for 13 of their last 14 games in all competitions, only featuring on the bench in a 2-0 win against Desportivo Aves in September.
Hardly statistics befitting of a £13 million goalkeeper.