Portuguese defender Goncalo Cardoso could well be edging towards a surprise deal at Bristol Rovers after appearing as a trialist for the Gas in recent weeks, according to journalist Jordan Jones in an article on Bristol World.
Cardoso has torn up his contract with Liga Portugal 2 side Maritimo to signal an intent to move back to the UK, the 22-year-old formerly of West Ham and featured for Bristol Rovers on trial.
Now, the five-time Portugal U20 international could be signed by Joey Barton on a free transfer as the Gas boss looks to strengthen his League One outfit.
Who Is Goncalo Cardoso?
Cardoso began his career in Portugal, coming through the youth ranks at Boavista to then make several first-team appearances for the black and white side.
West Ham would show an interest in the defender off the back of his positive spell with Boavista, the centre-back joining West Ham in 2019.
However, the 22-year-old – who joined the Hammers still as a teenager – would never go on to make a first-team start for his new employers. Instead, his time in London would be restricted to the Hammers’ U23 set-up.
He would go on to make 21 appearances for the youthful West Ham side in the Premier League 2, even scoring a solitary goal from defence versus Reading.
Two loan spells would come about also away from the London Stadium, playing in both Switzerland and Spain for Basel and Real Betis B.
His time at Maritimo, after leaving West Ham permanently, hasn’t quite gone to plan – making one appearance in Cup competitions for the second division side.
This has led to the recent development of Cardoso having his contract terminated, a decision that could well see him relocate back to the UK to play in League One for Bristol Rovers.
The Portuguese defender trained out in his home nation with the Gas when Joey Barton’s men ventured to Europe for a pre-season training camp. Could he now join back up with the Gas on a free transfer?
Defenders Already At Bristol Rovers
Bristol Rovers’ main issue last season was the amount of goals they would leak during matches, conceding 73 goals across the 46-game campaign.
Joey Barton’s men did nearly clinch a clean sheet on the opening day of this season, Kusini Yengi bundling the ball into the net late on at Fratton Park to give Portsmouth a share of the points in a 1-1 draw.
Barton fielded youngster James Connolly at the heart of defence alongside the significantly more experienced James Wilson for this contest, with Luca Hoole and Lewis Gordon occupying the channels as the full-backs of choice.
The outspoken Bristol Rovers boss might well opt to bring Cardoso in on a permanent deal to give his side another option, the 40-year-old manager making defensive additions beforehand when signing George Friend to the Memorial Stadium.
Bristol Rovers could well view this as a win win situation, able to sign a player who has played European football and featured in the Premier League 2 on a free transfer.
Cardoso too will be desperate to play some first team football at his age and League One football will certainly allow him to get back up to speed with its intensity and what will be expected of him.
This should be an interesting one to follow as sides begin to make more additions in the transfer window.