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Fulham in talks to sign Benfica defender Morato to bolster Marco Silva’s options

Morato of Benfica during the UEFA Champions League match between Benfica v Club Brugge at the Estadio Da Luz on March 7, 2023 in Porto Portugal

Morato impressed in the Primeira Liga last season – Getty Images/Eric Verhoeven

Fulham are in talks with Benfica over a deal for Brazilian centre-back Morato to bolster Marco Silva’s backline for next season.

Morato, 22, has been targeted by Silva to add competition at the heart of his defense and with interest from other clubs in Tosin Adarabioyo, who shared the workload with Tim Ream and Issa Diop as they finished in the top half of the Premier League.

Benfica won the Primeira Liga last season and Morato played 20 games in all competitions during the campaign and he has caught the eye at Craven Cottage as a potential recruit.

The Portuguese champions have a long history of players heading to England and Morato is seen as another player who could adapt to the Premier League. After playing for Portuguesa dos Desportos and São Paulo in Brazil, he headed to Benfica in 2019. He also fits the bill for Silva as a left-sided center-back.

Meanwhile, there is confidence at Fulham that interest in Antonee Robinson can be fended off with a new contract for the USA full-back. The 25-year-old has been high on the list of Premier League clubs looking for a left-back after his performances last season.

But a new deal would commit his immediate future to Fulham, where he has been for three years after moving from Fulham. They are also hoping to keep Willian at the club despite no agreement yet on a new deal.

Barnley pluck Collins from Rowdies

Barnsley have appointed Scottish coach Neill Collins as their new manager following his impressive spell in America with Tampa Bay Rowdies.

The League One club have been assessing candidates after Michael Duff left for Swansea City in the Championship, with Collins targeting to launch another promotion campaign after reaching the play-off finals last season.

Collins, the former Sheffield United and Wolves centre-back, has been at Tampa for seven years after initially going as a player in his last club before retiring and going into coaching.

He was manager for the USL Championship side, which is one division below MLS, and won the Eastern Conference in 2021. His progress has alerted English clubs and he was wanted at Walsall earlier in the summer but Barnsley made a breakthrough with a deal.

The 39-year-old will inherit a team from Duff that got to Wembley in May but lost to Sheffield Wednesday to miss out on a return to the Championship. After finishing fourth in the table last season, they are expected to mount a challenge for promotion under their new manager.

As a player, Collins has experience of promotion from League One after going up with Leeds United in 2010, while also winning the Championship with Wolves and Sunderland earlier in his playing career.

Boro pick up Senegal goalkeeper

Middlesbrough have agreed a fee with QPR for Senegal goalkeeper Seny Dieng.

The 28-year-old, who was at the World Cup last year with his country, is set to undergo a medical and discuss personal terms in the next days.

Boro have been looking for a goalkeeper after Zack Steffen went back to Manchester City after his loan last season.

Garcia headed to Saudi

Former Manchester City center-back Eric Garcia is a high-profile target for a move to Saudi Arabia following his two years back at Barcelona.

The Spain international, 22, ran down his contract at City to rejoin his boyhood club and he won La Liga last season, although there is interest from Real Betis and now the Middle East for his signature.

Betis are also interested in a deal for Leeds midfielder Marc Roca, 26, after he was relegated from the Premier League last season.

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