Morning folks and happy Tuesday to you. I am counting down the days until I jet off to sunny climes for a week in the Algarve, that’s for sure.
At least Arsenal delivered a tasty morsel yesterday in the shape of winger Marquinhos from Sao Paolo. He’s 19, he cost £3million and has played 33 times for them. So even in Brazil he is very early in his development and so I don’t think there is much expectation from an Arsenal fan perspective that he’ll be dropping big numbers in terms of appearances next season. But, to put him in context, Gabriel Martinelli had made just 17 appearances for Ituano when he signed for us as a 17-year-old and he made a few appearances in the Europa League and League Cup in his first season. Martinelli also scored on his friendly debut when we signed him and it was probably some of his performances that summer that convinced Unai Emery to give him minutes. He then scored two in his first start in the League Cup against Forest and that really set the tone for the excitement on the player, but also his fast-tracking to more game time. At 20 he now finds himself as a regular in the squad and you’d expect next season he’ll be wanting similar numbers of appearances as he played this season (36 in all competitions) as he’s now a pretty established first team player.
No two footballers have identically linear progressions in football and it would be wrong to project such on Marquinhos as another Sao Paolo guy who will have the same trajectory as Martinelli. Certainly Martinelli can act as good inspiration for the talented young player, but this move is about the future more than anything else and the fact Wolves were going to loan him out straight away suggests that even a mid table club knew that he wouldn’t be ready. I suspect Arsenal have similar viewpoints but by getting this deal done early the player can link up with his new team, play a few pre season matches and maybe even get some minutes in the Europa League and League Cup between now and January. Then, depending on how he gets on and what minutes are available, the club could look to a loan move. But to invest any hopes that he’ll hit the ground running like Martinelli did is a little unfair on him I would say.
In fact, I think that this move is probably quite a shrewd, low-risk, manoeuvre by Edu and the team at the club. £3million is next to nothing, he’s on a long contract and even if after two years it doesn’t look like he’s breaking through, providing he’s been able to get loan minutes and some minutes in an Arsenal shirt, getting back what you paid from him should be relatively easy. In fact, when you look at the list of the last dozen Brazilian players who have played for The Arsenal, it really is a mixed bag of success, so we shouldn’t have too high expectations on such a young player. The good has been Martinelli, Gabriel, Gilberto Silva and Edu, but in the ‘not so good’ category we have David Luiz, Willian, Andre Santos, Wellington Silva, Denilson and Julio Baptista. To be fair many of those were senior pros when they signed, but if you just look at those young players who have joined us at 21 or younger you’re looking at Gabriel Martinelli, Wellington Silva, Pedro Botelho, Denilson and Juan. That’s just the one youngster in the last 21 years that has been successful in Brazil and he’s in the team right now.
This is merely here to give my perspective that I’m not going to put too much pressure on this kid. Let’s give him some summer minutes, maybe some Europa League minutes, then see how he gets on. If it doesn’t work, if he doesn’t adapt, then we can sell him on and let him have a career elsewhere. But if it does work like Martinelli has worked, we’ll be looking at another gem unearthed for very little and when you talk – as a certain Spaniard who is no longer at the club, did – about ‘outsmarting the market’, it is little gems like this that could do just that.
Wellington Silva is currently 29-years-old and plying his trade at Gamba Osaka at the moment, having played for nine different clubs in his career so far.
Denilson is currently looking for a club at 34, if you believe what you read on TransferMarkt.
I feel old.
There isn’t really much else going on at the moment as all still remains quiet with the internationals still dragging on. The Arsenal ITKs are stirring and on Twitter I saw a retweet of another one of those ITKs named after an animal yesterday, leaving cryptic messages about medicals pencilled in this week. It’s all tosh and total guesswork so I’ll leave that kind of attention seeking to the random people on the internet who think that is a cool way to get attention. As for me, I’ve got a day of meetings so I’m going to get to it, hoping to grab some minutes outside in the glorious London sunshine that we have going on outside already.
Have a good one, enjoy your Tuesday, and I’ll see you tomorrow for more of the usual ramblings.