THE BALL – Pepê stayed and is ready to explode (FC Porto)

After a series of preparation games that took place behind closed doors, a strategy used this year by FC Porto to shape the squad to the coach’s ideas for the campaign that is now starting, behold, the dragons finally showed themselves to their fans, in a game particular against Monaco that left the certainty that the team seems to be on the right track.

If the collective performance left the Blues and Whites audience very satisfied, the same can be said of the individual behavior of some footballers. It was Pepe’s case. The Brazilian striker hired from Grêmio last summer caught the eye and left great promises for 2022/2023.

The first season with the Dragons jersey was very positive. Still, the start was not easy, with the Brazilian having to adapt to Sérgio Conceição’s well-known tactical demands. Pepê had a growing season, ending it as a very important stone in the Porto players’ final assault on the two most important trophies in national competitions: League and Cup.

The numbers were interesting – 42 games, six goals and five assists in the various competitions in which he participated – but the winger knows he can do even better. From the sample that constituted the match the day before yesterday, against Monaco, the white and blues can well expect an important contribution from the Brazilian, with constant movements in the offensive line and creating imbalances on both flanks, serving as support for the offensive duo (Taremi and Evanilson).

For Sérgio Conceição, it certainly did not cross his mind to lose Pepê in this market, but the truth is that there were approaches from Premier League clubs. However, SAD was firm in putting up with the onslaught of the 25-year-old, pushing those interested towards the release clause, which is one of the highest in the squad: €70 million.