Hulk, Moutinho, Cardozo & the Portuguese Liga stars who could leave their clubs this summer

With the new Portuguese season edging closer to kick-off, picks out five players who may still swap the Iberian country for pastures new this transfer window
By Luis Mira | Portuguese Football Editor

After an impressive 2010-11 season which saw Porto secure four titles, the Estadio do Dragao outfit were able to only retain their league crown under Vitor Pereira, as the side looked a mere a shadow of Andre Villas-Boas' team.

This despite Porto succeeding in fending off interest in their star players last summer, although they lost Radamel Falcao to Atletico Madrid. But with the league champions struggling with financial problems, just like every other Portuguese side, they may be powerless to prevent some of their most prized assets from leaving the club this time around.

Elsewhere, Benfica enjoyed a commendable campaign in the Champions League, which saw some of their key players attract the attention of Europe's top clubs, but the Lisbon-based outfit are determined to hold on to their key men and prevent a major summer overhaul.

Below, picks out five domestic stars who could find themselves on the move before the season kicks off.

HULK | Porto, Forward, 25

Read more on Hulk
Appearances 39
Goals 21
Assists 13
Release Clause €100m
Interested clubs Chelsea
Chance of leaving this summer 50%

The powerful forward remains linked with a move away from the Estadio do Dragao after yet another prolific season for the Portuguese champions. Hulk may not have been able to replicate the same level of form shown in previous years, mainly because of the absence of a world-class strike partner up front, but he still proved that he may have become too big for the Portuguese Liga, and that it is time for him to test himself in a new and more challenging competition.

With Manchester City having reportedly decided not to follow up their interest in Hulk, the path is now clear for Chelsea to make their move. However, his staggering release clause of €100 million is likely to put off his suitors, including the Blues. A collision course now seems imminent as Porto are determined to hold out for the figure stated in his buy-out clause, while the player - along with his agent - has continuously expressed his wish to take the next step in his career.

JOAO MOUTINHO | Porto, Midfielder, 25

Read more on Moutinho
Appearances 44
Goals 3
Assists 8
Release Clause 40m
Interested clubs Tottenham
Chance of leaving this summer 60%

Moutinho may not have had the best of seasons at Porto, admitting at one point that he was not in top form, but the midfielder's future has been a major talking point in Europe after he impressed for Portugal at Euro 2012, where he tallied two assists, including one in the quarter-final clash against Czech Republic.

Chelsea were linked with the 25-year-old at one stage, but it is now believed that Tottenham are hot on his trail following the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas, who coached the player during his highly-successful, quartet-winning 2011-12 season in charge of Porto. The London-based club are searching for a replacement for the outgoing Luka Modric, but convincing the Portuguese giants to part company with Moutinho will not be an easy task as they are determined to hold out for the €40m as stipulated in his release clause.

ALVARO PEREIRA | Porto, Defender, 26

Read more on Pereira
Appearances 34
Goals 1
Assists 4
Release Clause €30m
Interested clubs Chelsea
Chance of leaving this summer 40%

Alvaro Pereira was on the brink of completing a transfer to Chelsea last summer, but the Blues were forced to pull out of negotiations for the player after failing to agree a deal with Porto. The Uruguayan defender was one of the players who showed only glimpses of their talent last season, but a transfer could still be on the cards for the 26-year-old.

Despite the Uruguayan's constant come-and-get-me pleas, Chelsea's interest in the player appears to have cooled, especially because of his hefty price tag. However, after signing Alex Sandro from Santos last year, Porto may be ready to lower their valuation for Pereira, who has made no secret that he is seeking a new challenge in his career.

OSCAR CARDOZO | Benfica, Forward, 29

Read more on Cardozo
Appearances 47
Goals 28
Assists 7
Transfer value 20m
Interested clubs Fenerbahce
Chance of leaving this summer 50%

For the last three years, every time the season draws to a close, speculation about Cardozo's future at the Estadio da Luz intensifies. After all, regardless of the Paraguayan's finishing skills, Benfica's fans have grown tired of his clumsy and lethargic style of play.

Fenerbahce have often been linked with Cardozo, and it is believed that the Turkish giants have renewed their interest. According to reports, Benfica have set an asking price of €20m, much lower than his release clause of €60m, as the Portuguese capital side are eager to use the funds from his sale to sign a new striker - someone who could gather genuine support from the club's faithful.

ROLANDO | Porto, Defender, 26

Read more on Rolando
Appearances 36
Goals 3
Assists 1
Transfer value 20m
Interested clubs Roma, AC Milan
Chance of leaving this summer 65%

Rolando endured one of his worst seasons at Porto in 2011-12, but that has not stopped the speculation surrounding his future this summer. The Portugal international has frequently been asked questions about his plans over the last year, and he has not made any secret that he wishes to further his career abroad.

Earlier in the week, Rolando admitted that he would jump at the chance to join AC Milan, who are in the market for a new defender after selling Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain. But the Rossoneri reportedly face stiff competition from Roma for the defender's signature, as the Italian capital club have also identified the 26-year-old  as an option to reinforce their back line. Porto are believed to be willing to listen to offers upwards of €20m, and it's looking likely that Serie A may be the Cape Verde-born stopper's next destination.

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