Lech Poznań has officially finalized their second transfer of the season. On Wednesday evening, the Portuguese midfielder Afonso Sousa, having passed medical tests, signed a four-year contract with the Polish club. The 22-year-old is joining Lech on a transfer from Os Belenenses SAD.
The talented Portuguese is a homegrown player of FC Porto where he climbed up the club’s ladder and performed, inter alia, in the UEFA Youth League with great success. Moreover, Sousa has plenty of caps for the youth national teams on his account, including the U-21 squad with which he recently won a place at the upcoming European Championship. In the 6 Euro qualifiers games, he got 4 assists.
“Signing a midfielder has been one of our priorities for this summer. We said goodbye to Pedro Tiba who was an important figure; nothing is permanent in football therefore we decided to find a replacement. Turns out that the number of Portuguese players in our squad needs to add up,” laughed Tomasz Rząsa, Lech’s Sporting Director. As a result of the transfer, the squad for the 2022/2023 season will include four Portuguese players – apart from Sousa, Lech also has Joel Pereira, Joao Amaral, and Pedro Rebocho. “In all seriousness, Afonso has been at the top of our scouting list, and we knew from the start that we wanted to sign him. However, it took us a while because such a young player with a great potential aroused interest among many clubs. Still, for us it was important that Afonso is convinced he wants to join Lech, therefore we were waiting patiently whilst negotiating with the club. In the end, we managed to reach an agreement,” explained Rząsa.
Sousa is a homegrown player of FC Porto. In 2020 he joined Os Belenenses SAD where he played a total of 68 games, scored 5 goals, and got 3 assists. Unfortunately, last season the Lisbon club was placed last in the league and got relegated. To get to know Sousa more, it’s best to ask about him Andrzej Juskowiak – a great ex-striker, silver medalist from Barcelona, and a representative of Poland.
“He is a central midfielder with very good technical skills, capable of acting as a playmaker in the central area of the pitch, where there is little space and a lot of aggression. He dealt very well with that aggression back in the demanding Portuguese league. Despite his height, he isn’t afraid to take on a fight. In addition, he has recently improved his defensive skills, which also resulted in him getting a spot in the U-21 national team. In addition, he has plenty of caps in other youth national teams on his account,” highlighted Lech’s scout who is responsible, inter alia, for the Portuguese market.
What’s very important is that Afonso liked Lech’s project which was outlined to him during the negotiations and was convinced that he wanted to join the side from Poznań. “I talked to him, and he is a player that wants to take a step forward in his career when it comes to fighting for trophies and titles. It was an important criterion for him. He is still young, and I hope that his personal statistics will improve at Lech – at Belenenses, he had a hard time showing what he’s capable of in the offense. It’s worth mentioning that at Lech, Joel Pereira got 9 assists, whereas two years earlier in Portugal, he only for 3. Progress is within reach – which Pereira is an example of – and it might be the case with Afonso too. We are happy to have signed Sousa, especially since are aware of the competition. The project we have prepared for him is very interesting and he liked it from the start. But what’s even more important, is that we as a club have a lot to gain here,” summarized Juskowiak.
On Tuesday Sousa landed in Poznań and the following morning, he underwent medical tests in the Rehasport Clinic. Then, finally, on Wednesday evening the player signed a four-year contract with Lech which will last until June 30th, 2026.
What can we expect from Afonso? “You can expect a player who always gives his all for the club. I do my best for 90 minutes, in every game. I am also a technical player. Throughout my time here at Lech, I want to help the club as much as I possibly can. I want to win as many championship titles as possible, be crowned Polish champions - just like Lech was last season - win trophies, and if possible, go very far in the European competition as well as individually contribute to the team’s successes,” explained Sousa whilst adding that plenty of clubs were interested in him. “I had other offers, not only from Portugal, but also from other countries, but I chose Lech because I believe it’s the best project for me personally. I have been fascinated with the stadium and the fans. My first impressions of Poznań are that the stadium is absolutely amazing – I even saw some videos of the fans and they are spectacular. It’s hard to find supporters like that nowadays. I don’t want to wait long before I get to make my debut at this stadium; it’s my main objective now,” highlighted Lech’s latest transfer.