Officially the boys from Brazil are just coming to thrill and lay claim to the winners medal that their country has never won. Yet the Olympic football title is unlikely to be the only prize on the horizon for a few members of their squad later this week. Having once been one of the most hesitant employers of Brazilian football talent, many Premier League clubs now appear to be on the edge of going nuts for Brazil.
Whilst it’s still early days, there’s no doubt who is leading the charge, with Manchester United and Chelsea stockpiling their squads with Samba men for the past few years. To date this has primarily been a rear-guard revolution, with centre backs, wing backs and defensive midfielders among the chief recruits. But now the focus appears to have switched further upfield, hence United’s interest in new wunderkind Lucas Moura and Chelsea’s courting of Oscar and Hulk.
Old Boys Reunion.
Even some of the old guard are getting in on the act. Kaka will leave Real Madrid this summer, according to the president of his former club Sao Paulo – and moving to the Premier League is high on his possibles list. Whilst Ronaldinho has left Brazilian giants Flamengo over unpaid wages, making him a free agent. Perish the thought, but the idea of the toothless one turning out for the Baggies in a month’s time might be the tip of the season.
Not so long ago the idea that Brazilian footballers could transfer their silky skills to the Premiership seemed misty eyed nonsense. With the exception of Juninho, Middlesborough’s least South American looking midfield dynamo, the sporting fields of Britain have been unkind to the boys from Brazil. Players fabled for what they do with their feet have been better known for wearing gloves, as clear a sign of acclimatisation failure as you’re likely to find on a football pitch.
Born to chill, not to thrill.
The mystery in all this is why other South Americans have so thoroughly warmed to the Premier League. From the days of Ricardo Villa and Osvaldo Ardiles to those of Carlos Tevez, Javier Maschereno and now Sergio Aguerro, Argentinians have been positively feted. More of them have played Premiership football than Germans, whilst even the occasional Peruvian, Paraguayan and Colombian has out-distinguised their Samba playing cousins. So why has the nation with the biggest footballer manufacturing industry failed to thrive in the biggest market?
The stock answer is that latino temperament wilts in English temperatures. That’s why more Swedes have played the Premiership than Spaniards and more Norwegians than Italians. Yet in the recent 2011/12 season the greatest number of foreign players were Spanish and seemingly the worse the UK weather system becomes, the more exotic the footballer fauna and flora become.
Make your predictions.
So could the 2012/13 season be the breakthrough year for the term ‘Brazilian’ to mean something exciting going on in the 18-yeard box, than what you might ask for in a beauty parlour? These and others are the questions we need to answer to predict the outcome of the season coming up. To make your yours just fill in our pre-season survey.