A fourth and fifth newcomer have already signed and are training with the rest of the squad in Itu, where Palmeiras are preparing for their debut in the Paulistão on 18 January: centre-back Victorino and midfielder William Matheus.
Victorino comes as a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one. With Luan staying at Cruzeiro, striker Anselmo Ramon was supposedly coming our way in a swap. The Mineiro team however announced that Ramon is leaving for Chinese Hangzhou, and ended up offering Victorino instead. The 31-year-old Uruguayan defender was out of action all of 2013 due to a series of injuries, but is now recovered and more than eager to play at Palmeiras after having talked extensively to fellow countryman Eguren. He has signed a one-year contract, which can be renewed at no cost if Palmeiras so wish. Approved!
Left-back/winger William Matheus, who had a good year at Goiás last season, has signed a four-year contract with Palmeiras.
Also centre-back Lúcio has signed his contract, but bureaucracy hindered an official announcement to be made this Wednesday.
Today we also saw the signing of a four or five year contract with Leandro. Palmeiras had originally plans for a one-year extension with the Grêmio forward, but when Santos indicated they were interested in buying, Palmeiras opted for exercising their priority in the case of a purchase. Together with investors, the 5 million euro price tag has been met. This Wednesday afternoon, Palmeiras and Leandro reached an agreement regarding salaries: Leandro had previously asked for rather absurd US$ 125.000 a month, my guess being that we might be looking at roughly half that amount. When numbers are known, you’ll be the first to know.
Marquinhos Gabriel is expected to sign a one-year contract today (Thursday) after undergoing medical exams in the morning.
Expectations are also high for Bruno César and Jorge Moreira signing contracts in the coming few days. I don’t know what’s delaying Bruno César, as Al-Ahli apparently have agreed to the loan arrangements; hopefully nothing but time-consuming paperwork behind the delay. With Moreira, the difficulty lies in the 50% player’s economic rights owned by a group of investors. Libertad, holder of the other 50%, have already agreed to the conditions but the group of investors wants more money. I believe we’ll have a positive outcome also in these two cases. And a rather complete squad for 2014.
In addition, Palmeiras are contracting professionals to the technical staff: one assisting coach (Alberto Valentim, former Atlético Paranaense) and one fitness coach (Thiago Santi). These are important positions and will be part of the fixed staff of the Club, not coming or going as part of staff brought by each coach. With this follows improved continuity.
One last thing: Vilson, who didn’t accept a shorter contract neither one based on productivity, left Palmeiras earlier this month and initiated negotiations with Cruzeiro. The incident drew heavy criticism upon the Nobre administration from certain groups within the club, as Vilson is considered a good and dedicated player. Others took a more cautious stance in relation to the whole affair. Today, Cruzeiro announced the signing might not go through, as, in the words of the Club’s spokesperson, “some minor issues” were detected during his medical exams. Certainly these “issues” were also detected at Palmeiras – therefore the offer of a shorter contract and based on productivity – but at no point did Palmeiras publicly mark Vilson, not even when receiving flak for not signing the player. That’s spelled ethics. Congratulations, Nobre and everyone involved.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!