Monday, July 2, 2007

Arsene Wenger Pulls An Arsene Wenger

With all the media {and player agents} tossing around names of known footballers and linking them to Arsenal as the signing to replace TH14 {Anelka, Torres, Tevez, Martins, et. al.}, Arsene Wenger very quietly went out and did what he almost always does: signs a talented player way off everyone's radar that many people have never even heard of, just like he did with Vieira, Henry, Ljungberg, Kolo Toure, Diaby, Adebayor, and so many others before, leaving many to say "Who?".

His name is Eduardo de Silva. Born in Brasil, he moved to Croatia at age 15 and became a talented young star, recently becoming the main man for both Dinamo Zagreb as well at the Croatia national team. He is 24 years old.

Good article on him from a few weeks back by the great Jonathan Wilson here.

What we know: dude scores goals, and is a classic goalpoacher {think Van Nistelrooy-type} rather than a striker to create goals from nothing. His goalscoring numbers are damn impressive: 71 goals in 100 appearances for Dinamo Zagreb, including 34 last season in only 32 matches, a Croatian league record. Similar numbers for the national team: 7 goals in only 12 appearances, and his 6 goals in Euro 2008 qualifying have led Croatia past England, Israel, and Russia to the top spot in Group E.

Arsenal sure could use a goalpoaching finisher; with Pires leaving and Ljungberg declining into a shadow of his former self, things have dried up in that department. Last year Arsenal created a ton of chances but their finishing was poor, so one would think that he could only help in this regard.

What we don't know: if he can score goals at this level, which is an extreme jump up in class from the Croatian league. Only time will tell. Van Nistelrooy scored a shitload of goals in a "lesser" league then went to ManUtd and scored a shitload more; Kezman scored a shitload of goals in Croatia and then failed at Chel$ea. I am reminded of Curlin this year going into the Derby, when he had won all of his races in dominant fashion but against lower competition, and the $64,000 question was whether or not he could compete against the big boys {he could, finishing 3rd in the Derby and winning the Preakness}.

Only time will tell. Personally, I think Wenger is a genius, and even though some of his signings haven't worked out {remember Francis Jeffers?} I believe in what he is doing and in his proven ability to find talent that fits what he is trying to do and make it better in the process.

As they say, "Arsene knows."


moin said...

He's good in Football Manager 2007, that's all I can say. :D

It is worth pointing out, however, that his signature cost Arsenal 16.25 million GBP. That makes him more expensive than Henry. More evidence that someone got seriously low balled there.

moin said...

Oh nevermind:

"Dinamo president Mirko Barisic claims the fee amounts to £16.25m but BBC Sport understands it is around £7.5m."

Much more sensible. And you can still go out and sign another quality youngster (plenty of good players on Red Star Belgrade too, I'd like to recommend Dusan Basta, he's been doing wonders for me in FM2007).

What exactly is Arsenal missing now anyways? A winger? Or maybe a tall centerback that knows what to do on setpieces?

Kanu said...

Winger with pace {older & more experienced than Walcott}, perhaps a centreback or another striker.

Yeah I didn't really believe the 16 mil based on the way it was reported. 8 mil sounds about right.

Maybe RM will buy Reyes to be their manager? ;)

moin said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Reyes a "winger with pace"?

For cheap centerback, I recommend Kirill Pavlyuchek, Belorussian (to keep Hleb company), and uh.... well, to be honest, I've no idea which team he plays for or how good he is in real life. But he's always good in my games. (I base my international scouting/transfer policy on games, if you haven't noticed. Hey, nothing like having the scouting done for you.)

Milito is available, please get him away from Zaragoza (and Spain in general). I beg of you. Before Barca decides Chivu is too expensive and turns attention on him. He won't be that expensive (I don't think).

Kanu said...

No, Reyes is a "winger with pace who cannot play outside of sunny, warm, Spain, is good from August-October and April-May and complete rubbish in the winter, who hates life in London and always complains about the weather and the food and has pretty much let it be known that he doesn't want to play in England but rather in sunny & warm Spain where the weather, food, and women are all much better."

Can't really blame him, but if I was being paid 100,000 USD a week to play a game I would shut the fuck up, deal with it, keep my nose down, play hard, hire a cook, and play football.

Moin said...

I agree. But if your peak as a player is being wasted in the winter months, I'd bet you wouldn't exactly be happy about it either.

As for other wingers. Quaresma's name has been bandied about by what I heard.

And I wouldn't put this past Arsene: Lebohang Mokoena (from Orland Pirates).