Corinthians kicked off their Libertadores campaign with a 0 – 0 draw against Millionarios in Colombia last night. Would Alex Teixeira have made a difference, and can they get him?
Corinthians were hoping to wrap up a one year loan deal for Alex Teixeira from Chinese side Jiangsu Suning on Sunday night, the deadline to register players for the group phase of the Copa Libertadores. Negotiations were at an advanced stage; personal terms with the player had been agreed and Corinthians were waiting for the Chinese club to return their fax with a signature on the dotted line.
But that never happened. Corinthians were understandably disappointed and went public with their frustration, saying that the Chinese side has twice sought to change the terms of the deal that had already been agreed. The Chinese team, managed by Fabio Capello, finished 12th in the league last year, with Alex Teixeira in the side. The Italian is seemingly happy to let the player move on and since Chinese clubs can field only three foreign players per match, the club are looking at other foreign options.
Despite that, concluding a deal for Alex Teixeira was never going to be easy. The player may be happy to take a significant pay cut to join the Brazilian Champions, but coming to an agreement with his club was always going to be hard. Aged 28, he is in the prime of his career, and he cost €50 million just two years ago. Corinthians simply don’t have that kind of money, which is why a one year loan deal has been mooted. Cash rich Liverpool are also said to be interested.
It would be wrong to say that the 0 – 0 draw in Colombia last night is proof that Corinthians need Teixeira. After all, coach Corinthians coach Fabio Carille places the emphasis on organisation, defensive structure and resilience, rather than attacking football, so even if Alex Teixeira had been playing, the result probably wouldn’t have been any different. Besides, playing away from home in the Libertadores is notoriously difficult, especially at altitude, and draws away from home are generally seen as a success.
But Corinthians do have a major task on their hands to replace the goals of last season’s top scorer Jo, who has left the club. They have brought in Junior Dutra and Emerson Sheikh, who between them managed just 13 Serie A goals last season. The other recognised forward at Corinthians is Colin Kazim-Richards, the same Colin Kazim-Richards that, err, played for Bury, Brighton, Sheffield United and Blackburn. He scored one league goal in fourteen appearances for Corinthians last year so isn’t the solution.
Alex Teixeira would undoubtedly improve Corinthians; he’d improve most teams in the world. But I can’t help wonder whether he is the type of forward they need. After all Jo is a target man and holds the ball up well, and a good goal scorer. Given the way Corinthians play, I think they need that sort of player. Alex Teixeira, while very good, isn’t that. He has a very good goalscoring record, but he is that winger-type forward that likes to run into space and play in channels. I can’t help think that Corinthians would be better off spending their money on a more traditional centre forward, unless, of course, they are planning to change their style of play.
Meanwhile, Flamengo drew with River Plate last night. That result means that none of the four Brazilian side have won their opening group game in the Libertadores so far this yar, even though they are the overwhelming favourites to win the competition. Palmeiras take on Junior Barranquila tonight.
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