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Spanish influence to the fore in Porto makeover

FC Porto are developing a distinctive Spanish accent this summer, with a coach and five players from across the border among the newcomers. UEFA.com takes a closer look.

Julen Lopetegui took the reins in May
Julen Lopetegui took the reins in May ©Getty Images

The Spanish influx continues at FC Porto, with the acquisitions of José Ángel and Andrés Fernandéz taking the number of cross-border arrivals to five already this summer, six if you include coach Julen Lopetegui.

"It is great to be here. It is a big challenge for me as I am coming to a great club, which is forming a very strong team," said left-back José Ángel, 24, who agreed a four-year deal on Tuesday after completing his transfer from AS Roma. "Porto are making some good signings."

Twenty-four hours later they made another, with goalkeeper Andrés Fernandéz sealing a switch from CA Osasuna. Óliver Torres and Adrián López have come from last season's UEFA Champions League finalists Club Atlético de Madrid and Cristian Tello has linked up on a year-long loan from FC Barcelona.

It has been all change for the 27-time Portuguese champions. Stung by a disappointing season by their own high standards, finishing third in the Liga and failing to negotiate the UEFA Champions League group stage, the Dragons are eager to make amends.

Alongside the Spanish quintet and Netherlands centre-back Bruno Martins Indi, there are a couple more new faces well-versed in Spanish football: Brazilian midfielder Casemiro has arrived on loan from Real Madrid CF, while Algerian international Yacine Brahimi joined from Granada CF. Perhaps the most important newcomer, though, could be Lopetegui, who assumed the reins in May.

Adrián López in Champions League action
Adrián López in Champions League action©Getty Images

From the outside it may appear that the man who led Spain to UEFA European Under-21 Championship glory in 2013 is intent on raiding his homeland for talent, but the 47-year-old insists nationality has no bearing. "All players that arrive are signed by FC Porto, not by Lopetegui," he said. "All players in the squad are equal, whether they are from Spain, Algeria, Brazil or Portugal."

With the task of leading the club back to the top, Lopetegui just wants time for him and his new recruits to settle, and is hoping things will fall into place in time for the UEFA Champions League play-off first legs on 19/20 August. "We are still experimenting with things and adjusting concepts. We will get better with time, as we have several new players to bed in. We have to work to meet the expectations of a club like this."

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