Tiago Tomas: Things to know about the promising Portuguese striker

5 Min Read

When Sporting CP produce a talented young player, the rest of the world tends to take notice – and that is exactly what is happening in the case of 18-year-old striker Tiago Tomas.

A graduate of the same academy that has produced Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo among countless others, Tomas’ emergence in the first team has put a number of major sides on notice, and reports suggest Arsenal are closing in on a £20m deal.

But who is he and what is it about him that has the transfer rumour mill working overtime? 90min have taken a look.

Ever since he arrived in Lisbon from the Estoril academy at 12 years old, Tomas has been very highly rated at Sporting.

So much so that in the summer, when he had only made five appearances for the club, he was handed a lucrative five-year deal, with a reported release clause of £52m.

And while two goals in 18 league appearances since don’t quite do him justice, it all looks a little brighter when you consider he has registered a goal or assist for every 173 minutes of senior football he has played this season.

Despite the fact he looks about 45 and plays like an old fashioned target man, Tomas is actually just 18.

All sources seem to agree he was born on 16 June 2002. At least he probably won’t need to worry about his drivers licence for getting into those London bars.

Andrew Considine, Tiago Tomas
Tomas holding off Scotland hero Andy Considine | Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

If there’s one thing you have to get used to at Arsenal, it’s playing in the Europa League. Luckily enough, Tomas is already well acclimatised.

His first two goals for Sporting came in Europe’s secondary competition earlier this season. He netted against Aberdeen in the third qualifying round and against LASK in the playoff.

They say winning is a habit and it’s one Sporting are getting Tomas into early on. At the halfway point of the Liga NOS season they are undefeated, and he has appeared in every single one of their league matches.

He also has a winner’s medal in his trophy cabinet already, having helped his side to the Taca da Liga, in which he started the final against SC Braga.

News of Arsenal’s interest initially came from The Sun, whose report notes that the Gunners’ failure to land Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting back in 2004 is part of what is driving the deal.

It’s alleged that they are still kicking themselves for missing out on one of the greatest players ever, and don’t want to risk making the same mistake with Tomas.

Is that actually true, or is it just The Sun making connections that aren’t there for #narrative reasons?

Does it matter?

Everything on Arsenal’s interest suggests they want the deal wrapped up sooner rather than later. Their sporting director Edu is the one driving negotiations and wants to have it rubber-stamped before the summer in order to focus on other targets.

Sporting are looking for around £20m due to their financial situation, which was bleak even before the coronavirus pandemic, but is now pretty desperate.

Under normal circumstances, they wouldn’t be letting him go for anything less than his £52m release clause – which tells you a lot about how highly he is rated in Portugal.

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