The 21-year-old Rio Ave striker has swapped life in Portugal for Paisley after signing a six-month loan deal with the Scottish Premier League side.
He will now go straight into the St Mirren squad for this Sunday's Scottish League Cup semi-final with Celtic at Hampden.
But while the frontman, who was loaned out to French Ligue 1 side Nice last term, has scant knowledge of the SPL, he is optimistic he can make a goal-scoring impact for his new team.
Goncalves, capped for Portugal's Under-17 side, told Press Association Sport: "A coach at my old club told me about St Mirren and said he thought it would be a good move for me.
"He thought I could come here and score goals so I said 'yes' to the chance.
"I had only played with eight games with Rio Ave this season, that is all. I was frustrated.
"I only know a bit about Scottish football, that it is a lot like English football, which I like.
"I don't know much about St Mirren either but I have met with the coach Danny and he is a good guy. He is funny. I like him.
"I trained with the squad this morning and the standard was good. I'm not sure what will happen once my loan is up. We will see. It depends how I play."
Goncalves slipped down the pecking order at Rio Ave after the Primeira Liga outfit brought in Manchester United's £9million forward Bebe on loan.
Venezuelan international Yonathan Del Valle has also been brought in on a temporary basis and Buddies boss Danny Lennon admitted Goncalves' frustrations at a lack of first-team action opened the door for him to swoop.
He said: "Esmael is a player who has been on our radar since before the transfer window opened. He's strong and quick and will hopefully bring goals.
"He's got great experience in Portugal playing against the likes of Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon but now finds himself third choice behind Bebe and Del Valle.
"It shows a lot about the boy that he is prepared to come and expand his horizons and have a go at Scottish football.
"And what a baptism it could be on Sunday for him with a semi-final against Celtic to come."