West Brom loan in Portugal winger Silvestre Varela
West Bromwich Albion, 5/2 with Coral to be relegated from the Premier League, have signed Portugal international winger on a season-long loan from Porto.
The 29-year-old, who has 26 caps for his country, becomes the Baggies’ 10th summer signing as head coach Alan Irvine continues a comprehensive squad overhaul at The Hawthorns.
Porto have recruited heavily in the transfer window, purchasing 14 players while letting as many leave as they prepare to curtail Lisbon rivals Benfica’s challenge to their domestic dominance.
Varela, who went to and scored at Euro 2012 and the recent World Cup in Brazil, strengthens the attacking options available to Albion and his place at his parent club was under threat. His arrival at the West Midlands outfit comes shortly after that of Greece striker Georgios Samaras.
“Silvestre is a vastly-experienced player, both with Porto and his national team, and I’m delighted we’ve manag=ed to secure his services,” said Baggies boss Irvine. “He’s got pace and power, gets his fair share of goals and is also a creator of chances for others. He’s a fantastic addition to our squad.”
A graduate of Sporting Lisbon’s academy, Varela will compete with Stephane Sessegnon, Samaras, record Baggies signing Brown Ideye, Saido Berahino and Victor Anichebe for a spot in the Albion attack.
Four of West Brom’s 10 summer signings have been free transfers. Joining Samaras in this bracket are Joleon Lescott, Craig Gardner and Chris Baird. Varela, meanwhile, is a fellow loan capture like Liverpool defender Andre Wisdom.
Irvine has brought options for the full back berths into Albion, with World Cup players Jason Davidson (Australia) and Cristian Gamboa (Costa Rica) alongside Belgian Sebastien Pocognoli, a reported £1.5m signing.
The Baggies have drawn their first two Premier League games of the season, failing to score in the latest against Southampton. Irvine may thus throw Varela straight into the first-team picture and hand him a debut in their next encounter with Swansea City. West Brom are 9/2 outsiders to make a top 10 finish.