Porto spending spree will help them regain title

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For anyone involved with FC Porto during the last 12 years, anything other than first place has simply not been good enough.

In the last 12 seasons, the club from northern Portugal have won the Primeira Liga a staggering nine times, cementing themselves as the countries top club ahead of Lisbon duo Benfica and Sporting.

Last season, however, something went horribly wrong and after three consecutive title winning campaigns Porto found themselves finishing the season in third place. Action had to be taken.

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Managerial changes

Paulo Fonseca was the first man to pay the price for a dismal season, losing his job in early March after just nine months in charge.

The 41-year-old had replaced the departing Victor Pereira in June 2013, but a run of four consecutive defeats saw him sacked and reserve team coach Luis Castro made interim boss.

Castro failed to make a difference and Porto board moved swiftly to announce Julen Lopetegui as their new manager in May.

During Lopegui's unveiling, Porto president Pinto da Costa lavished praise on his new coash, saying: "Lopetegui is my first, my second and my third option. I did not give him any margin to say no."

Summer arrivals

Since taking over at Porto, the Spaniard has been allowed to bring in a number of new recruits, with the signings of Jose Angel and Andres Fernandez in the last few days taking the total number of summer arrivals to 12.

But Lopetegui isn't simply adding quantity, and it's the quality of the new additions that mean Porto fans can be expecting to celebrate yet another league title come the end of the season.

Mixing long-term loans with permanent transfers, Porto's new coach has visibly increased the quality of the squad without breaking the bank.

Perhaps the most noticeable permanent deal is the purchase of Manchester United target Bruno Martins Indi.

The former Feyenoord defender was one of a number of impressive performers during Holland's World Cup campaign and represents somewhat of a coup for Porto.

Porto have also acted wisely in the loan market too, with Cristian Tello and Casemiro completing temporary switches from Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

Both players will be hoping their performances in Portugal can help them force their way into the first team picture at their parent clubs, but Porto will be certain to reap the benefits.

In Tello the club have acquired one of the most promising young attackers in the game. Boasting impressive pace, dribbling skills and an eye for goal, the young Spaniard could prove to be the perfect foil for last year's leading scorer Jackson Martinez.

Other signings include Atletico Madrid's La Liga winning striker Adrian Lopez, Grenada's Yacine Brahimi who impressed at the World Cup with Algeria and Daniel Opare of Standard Liege, who represented Ghana in Brazil this summer.

No mass exodus

It was perhaps inevitable that Porto would have a busy summer in the transfer window, but many thought they'd be concentrating on keeping hold of players instead of signing them.

With the new season starting in just over two weeks there's only been one high profile departure from the club thus far, with midfielder Fernando completing a move to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Defender Eliaquim Mangala could still join him at the Etihad Stadium and speculation continues to link Jackson Martinez with a move away, but should the duo depart Porto fans can rest safe in the knowledge they've already bought in adequate replacements.

The competition

Porto's hopes of getting their hands on yet another league title have also been boosted by events in Lisbon.

Reigning champions Benfica have seen their treble winning team of 2013/2014 decimated during the summer transfer window, with Lazar Markov, Jan Oblak, Ezequiel Garay and Rodrigo having all left the club.

Those departures leave Jorge Jesus with a mammoth task on his hands as the club try to claim back-to-back titles for the first time in over 30 years.

Elsewhere in the capital, Sporting Lisbon's hopes of bettering last year's second-placed finish were dashed with the news that William Carvalho has been made available for transfer.

Although the signing of Ryan Gauld is a good addition for the future, he's unlikely to turn the club into league winners this season and the added pressure of the Champions League could even see Sporting drop out of the top three.

With all things considered, it's hard to see anyone other than Porto topping the Primeira Liga table next May.

A number of quality additions have made them a force to be reckoned with, and with their title rivals having to cope with multiple high profile departures, title number 28 is on the cards.

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