With the European transfer window opening, there has been a flurry of transfer activity in Brazil. The rumour mill has also been going into overdrive.
Clarence Seedorf signed for Botafogo in a deal described by the club as the biggest signing of a foreign player by a Brazilian club. I am in Rio at the moment and went down to see him being presented to the fans, as well as the Botafogo v Bahia match.
Internacional (from Porto Alegre) somewhat stole the show from Botafogo by announcing the signing of Diego ForlÃ¡n â€“ the best player at the last World Cup â€“ to their fans on the same day. He has signed from Inter Milan. He is expected to earn R$450,000 per month (about GBP 33,000 per week). Seedorf is likely to earn R$700,000 per month (or GBP 51,000 per week). For comparison purposes, Neymar earns about GBP 110,000 per week at Santos. All three deals illustrate that Brazilâ€™s economic might is on the rise and Brazilian club football, fortunately and finally, is starting to get its act into gear professionally (Why shouldnâ€™t the worldâ€™s 7th largest economy and country that has won 5 World Cups have a league to rival the best in Europe?).
Corinthians face a battle to keep their Libertadores winning team together for the World Club Cup in December. The Libertadores Champions have already lost their excellent centre back Leandro CastÃ¡n to Roma. Defensive midfielder Paulinho is wanted by Inter Milan and they are ready to offer 7 million Euros. Corinthians are holding out for 8 or 9 million. Corinthians coach Tite would like to keep the player but admits he could leave if the price is right. Willian has just been sold to Metalist.
Many readers have asked me about Lucas Moura going to Manchester United. Firstly, nobody has mentioned Manchester United in Brazil so I think this story has been fabricated by the British press who are probably bored. I really donâ€™t see where he would fit into Unitedâ€™s team either. He is a wide player and United already have Nani, Young and Valencia. Another one? Just because Lucas is Brazilian, young and expensive doesnâ€™t mean he is the next big thing in World football.
He has been around for a few years in Brazil and seems to have gone off the boil a bit. He reminds me a lot of Theo Walcott â€“ very quick, direct, a good dribbler and good with the ball at his feet. But he is not a play-maker! I think Lucas is a bit better than Walcott and does have that little extra Brazilian magic. The English game may suit Lucas but I dont think that is the sort of player United need at the moment.
The problem is that the faults between Walcott and Lucas are all too similar. Lucas plays with his head down and wastes some good opportunities. He often makes the wrong choice with the final ball or final shot. He is a little too greedy sometimes too and hasnt cemented a place in the seleÃ§Ã£o or even Brazils Olympic team for that matter. Despite that he has been to see the club headquarters and training facilities of both Inter Milan and Real Madrid. SÃ£o Paulo are said to be ready to lower their 35m Euro asking price so a deal could be done.
In case you didnt see it last year, here is my list of the top 10 youngsters playing in Brazil and what I thought of them at the time.
Elano (ex-Manchester City) has signed for Gremio from Santos. Classy midfielder Oscar could be on his way to either Tottenham or Chelsea. Unlike the Lucas Moura to United one, this story has come from Brazil as well so looks a lot more likely. Ganso who is wasting his talent at Santos for some reason could be Oscarâ€™s replacement at Internacional. I would like to see Ganso leave Santos, it could just be the change of air that his career needs. At Inter he would link up with his former Santos coach Dorival Junior. Inter are also looking to re-sign Nilmar from Villarreal and have been negotiation that one for some time now.
Fellipe Bastos and Eder Luis could both leave Vasco for Palmeiras. Obina, one of the worldâ€™s worst strikers could leave his club in China to re-join Palmeiras.
Flamengo are after Diego (Atletico Madrid) or Riquelme (Boca Juniors). Cruzeiro are also after Riquelme. Fluminense have made an offer to Concaâ€™s club in China, which was rejected, after Conca handed in a transfer request last week.
Finally, in the UCF, Anderson Silva kicked the loud and arrogant American fighter Chael Sonnenâ€™s butt. Sonnen was mouthing it off before the game and caused quite a lot of offence to Brazilians who now hate him. Anderson Silva is a hard-core Corinthians fan and sponsored by Corinthians so Sonnen decided to align himself with Palmeiras just to antagonize his opponent. Not great publicity for Palmeiras since Sonnen lost the fight and the Brazilian public hate him.