Exploring the Possibilities: Simao

During the first full week of the summer transfer window, New England Soccer Today will examine three players that may be targeted by the New England Revolution for a summer transfer. While the Revolution have revealed little in terms of which player(s) has been targeted, three possibilities have emerged. In the second part of this series, Brian O’Connell spotlights Simao, the Besiktas midfielder who may fit the bill as a potential transfer target.

Could the highly-sought Portuguese playmaker many fans have clamored for finally crash onto the Revolution’s shores during this summer’s transfer window?

That answer may be found between the lines of a report from The Boston Globe. The report details that the team is reportedly interested in signing a Turkish-based player who, according to MLS sources, “is among the top goal-scorers in his national team’s history” – both descriptions that fit current Besiktas midfielder and Portuguese National Team goalscorer Simao.

Although the Revolution don’t reveal potential targets until they are signed, Simao, who is tied with Nene as the eighth-leading scorer in Portuguese National Team history with 22 international goals, could very well be the creative playmaker that manager Steve Nicol has sought given the team’s obvious goalscoring woes.

Earlier this season, Nicol and Revolution Vice President of Player Personnel Michael Burns boarded a plane for Europe to scout their target, but returned without giving any further clues concerning their target. Coincidentially, Simao’s side – Besiktas – played against Buyuksehir Belediyespor in the Turkish Cup Final during Nicol and Burns’ European excursion in May.

The addition of the 31-year-old winger would unquestionably cost the Revs a seven-figure sum, and require the team to use its first-ever Designated Player Allocation. Last fall, Revolution COO Brian Bilello publicly announced that  the team fully intended to bring in “one or more” players worthy of the designated player title after the Revs missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

Should the Revs come to acquire Simao, it would not only give the Revolution a tremendous boost at the box office given the dense Portuguese community residing in southeastern New England, but an experienced and creative force with a solid international pedigree at both the club and country levels.

Prior to signing with Besiktas, Simao spent three-and-a-half seasons with Spanish side Atletico Madrid, who paid Portuguese club Benfica 20 million euros for his services after scoring 76 goals in 172 matches from 2001-2007.  Before his stay Lisbon, the creative midfielder had a brief spell at Barcelona (1999-01), who paid another Portuguese side – Sporting CP – 15 million euros for his services.

In addition to his success at the club level, the playmaker has accumulated 85 caps for Portugal, and starred with A Seleccao during the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. During qualifying for the 2010 tournament, it was he led his country with four goals, and later scored another during Portugal’s 7-0 rout of North Korea in the Group stages. In August, he announced his retirement from the national team, citing “personal reasons.”

While the summer transfer window open, a player of Simao’s skill would almost immediately improve the Revs fortunes. And with the Revs’ form rapidly regressing this season, the front office would be wise to sign him before it’s too late.

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He's contributed to The Associated Press, The Canadian Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or e-mail him at BOConnell21@aol.com