Arsenal: Andre Santos Is Lovely Guy, But He's The Worst Brazilian Left Back I've Ever Seen
Since Roberto Carlos and his ability to sprint the length of the pitch before delivering a devastating cross into the box made full backs glamorous again, there has been a slight infatuation with Brazilian full backs around Europe. And it seems like everyone’s jumping on the band wagon – City have one in Maicon, Barcelona have Alves and even United and QPR nabbed themselves a pair of Brazilians in the da Silva twins.
But, as an Arsenal supporter, I have always looked upon clubs with their Brazilian full backs with envy; their colourful and flair-ridden sprinters flying down the pitch always painted me green when I turned to see Oleg Luzhny or Mikael Silvestre occupying our wide defensive births. I used to turn to my Mum every Christmas morning in sheer devastation when she revealed there was no chance we’d be joining in with the cool clubs and getting our own Brazilian full back. Arsene once treated us to Sylvinho in the late 90s but cruelly sent him away to Celta Vigo soon after. Years went by and with the exception of a few teases, we were still lacking a Brazilian at the back (oo-er).
But one morning, one summer morning, my dream would come true. Hidden away in the foray of transfer deadline day, Andre Santos emerged as our signing to replace Gael Clichy who had hopped it over to Manchester City earlier in the summer. Santos was an established player, far from the normal Wenger signing, who had a bucket-load of caps behind him for Brazil and seemed genuinely capable to add some flair to the left side. This was better than the mini snooker table I received when I was 12. This was the best (late) Christmas present ever.
His laziness and defensive inability isn’t just down to eating too many pork pies
Turns out though, unlike Alves or Maicon or even Oleg Luzhny – Andre Santos is a bit sh*t. Not sh*t in the way you see some old fat bloke run around on a Sunday afternoon before getting lairy at the pub but in a way you see some old fat bloke run around on a Sunday afternoon after breaking the law speeding. Andre is just not Premier League material and thankfully it looks like Galatasaray are being kind enough to take him back to Turkey.
But it’s not just his weight that has deemed Santos not Premier League standard but it’s his first touch, his lack of willingness to track back when he switches on headless chicken mode; his laziness and defensive inability isn’t just down to eating too many pork pies. The brief stints he has played this season, and the matches he took part in last season, showed a lot of frailties in a player who’s closing in on his 30th birthday.
The emergence of Keiran Gibbs as a genuine long term solution to the left full back position has also dealt a blow to any serious chances of Santos claiming the position for his own; Gibbs has matured defensively since the appointment of Steve Bould and has been an integral part of an Arsenal defence that has grown into something that isn’t to be ridiculed - as it frequently was last year. Vermaelen’s ability to deputise as a left back has only counted against Santos who has been tipped to play further up the pitch by many during the preseason schedule, only to be cancelled out by the very impressive Gervinho and Podolski.
Players such as Santos don’t fit into the new philosophy and are therefore surplus to requirements no matter how funny their tweets can be
Many will point to Santos’ ability to get forward into scoring positions (like he did against Chelsea last season) as an advantage to keeping the Brazilian around until at least the summer time. But if Galatasaray are willing to part with their cash for someone who’s a liability defensively and a bit of a pain in the arse off the pitch, Wenger should be packing Andre’s bags for him.
Despite it only being October, this season has already seen a more determined and disciplined Arsenal side. Players such as Santos don’t fit into the new philosophy and are therefore surplus to requirements no matter how funny their tweets can be. Now all we need is to find someone to give him a lift to their airport. Any takers?
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