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Derby County are apparently keen to bring Portuguese midfielder Alex Soares to the club this summer. The 26-year-old currently plays for Maritimo, for whom he has made 20 Primeira Liga appearances this season. Soares is now coming into his own, after having settled at the club. He made 36 league appearances for Maritimo B between 2012 and 2014, before going on to play 83 first team games and counting.
Having been born in Lisbon, Soares played at youth level for a number of clubs including Benfica. His professional profile reads like that of a player who is improving constantly. In 2010 he made his senior debut with Portuguese fourth division side Esperanca de Lagos, playing 27 times in his first year as a first team player.
He came to the attention of Greek second tier club Panserraikos and was transferred there in January 2011. For whatever reason, Soares did not make any first team appearances in Greece and returned to Portugal in 2012 to sign for Maritimo, playing for their B side in the third tier.
His performances over the next year or so saw him improve markedly and he earned a first team debut for Martimo in Portugal’s top flight in 2013.
Soares is not known as a goal scorer, nor is he ever utilised as a wide player. Despite not contributing an awful lot in front of goal, he does get forward in plenty and contributes by finding key passes. He is very much comfortable as a box-to-box midfielder, happy to receive the ball from his defence before keeping the game moving with regular successful passes to more advanced teammates.
Given his past, Soares will be used to getting plenty of time on the ball with which he would pick out his passes from central midfield. A slight change in play will be needed should he sign for the Rams. Moving the ball quickly and avoiding tough tackles will be something he will need to accomplish pretty quickly.
At 26-years-old and as a midfielder, there is no way we can say that he has suddenly stopped improving. Going from youth level to the 4th tier in Portugal, then to the 3rd and then on to Primeira duties show a steady upward curve. The Championship would be a good challenge for him and over the next year or so, he would no doubt begin to fancy himself as a Premier League player in England.
Soares has obvious talent and at the moment sits correctly as a top half Primeira Liga player. How this translates to England is always open to questions, though players like him who get better each year deserve the chance to find out how far they can go.