The Club is delighted to announce the arrival of Rafa Soares on a season-long loan deal from Porto.
Fulham fought off two major European clubs for Soares’ services, with the player keen to test himself in English football.
The 22-year-old left-back took in a similar spell with top flight Rio Ave last term, whom he helped to a seventh placed finish, narrowly missing out on a UEFA Europa League spot by a point.
He played 32 times in the league and contributed three goals, along with five assists. It followed his first taste of senior football when he spent the second half of the 2015/16 campaign with fellow Primeira Liga outfit Académica Coimbra.
A regular for Portugal’s youth teams, Soares has amassed an impressive 72 caps from Under-16 to Under-21 level. Most of his appearances came for the Under-19s for whom he scored twice in 30 appearances, but he has also been selected nine times at Under-21 level.
Soares is currently recovering from an ankle injury and will return to training after the September international break.
Tony Khan, Vice Chairman and Director of Football Operations, said: “Rafa was worth the effort to pursue and, once he steps onto the pitch, our supporters will also see that he is worth the wait.
“We were well aware of his injury during the recruitment process and are more than comfortable moving ahead, as Rafa's talent and body of work as a defender speaks for itself, as evidenced by the interest and buzz around him this summer.
“We'll count on Rafa to bring a new dimension to our back line once he returns to play and that's not far off, possibly early autumn, but we will be smart and patient. We have an excellent squad as we stand now and Rafa will make it that much better when he suits up. Come On You Whites!”
Speaking to fulhamfc.com at Motspur Park after putting pen to paper, Soares said: “I’m very happy.
“I came here to help the Club achieve its goals this season and I hope to experience a lot and do a good job. I have ambitions to improve myself too, and help the Club to have a good season.
“I had other options, other clubs were interested in me, but the way Fulham acted, I was decisive that I wanted to come here, and I think it’s the right time to be here.
“Fulham has a reputation of a Premier League club and this season I want to help put the Club back in the place it belongs.”