Sonar pings #73 – eye of the tiger

Interim coach Alberto Valentim on Sunday celebrated his third straight victory as Palmeiras beat Vitoria 0-1, Marquinhos Gabriel scoring the important goal to silence the Pituaçu stadium, Salvador, state of Bahia. Again, the game was of dubious quality, but that matters less: the victory propelled Palmeiras into 6th position in the league tables after five rounds, with 9 points, two behind leader Internacional.

Are there voices calling for Valentim as a permanent solution? Not really: most supporters seem aware of the fact that Valentim is still too fresh and inexperienced. His initial run has indeed been tremendously effectiv in terms of results, but that can at large be attributed to his healthy keep-it-simple approach, in combination with weak opponents and some luck.

Initially, Vanderley Luxemburgo seemed to be holding the strongest hand as Kleina’s replacement. Palmeiras initiated talks, but things cooled down rather rapidly. Same thing with Arce: the Paraguayan former right-defender turned coach, currently at Cerro Porteño, early on announced he would be loyal to his employer. Respect.

Leaves Palmeiras with three names on the shortlist: Jorginho, Dorival Junior and Ricardo Gareca. Jorginho could be considered nothing but a last resort backup, a Kleina 2. Dorival has some support from within Palmeiras, is a seasoned coach and apparently corresponded well to initial talks with Palmeiras last week. But it’s no doubt Gareca who’s heading the list. “The Tiger”, as the 56-year-old Argentine football manager is nicknamed, has already received an offer from Palmeiras and is expected in São Paulo tomorrow (Wednesday) morning for a second round of talks and – who knows – putting pen to paper. Palmeiras is offering Gareca something similar to Kleina’s salary: 90.000 fixed and at least up to double that amount linked to productivity/bonuses.

I’m thrilled with the possibility. Gareca is seasoned and I expect him to be motivated with the challenge to coach a top Brazilian team. He is three times Argentine champion with Vélez Sársfield, and these titles are recent. I believe Gareca would bring new blood, new ideas and a different fighting spirit into Palmeiras and Brazilian football. And with Valentim remaining as assisting coach… This could get very interesting.

Although always cautious, Brunoro is signaling a deal could be announced already tomorrow. And for once, I don’t believe in a dragged out negotiation process. Not with the Alan Kardec drama in fresh memory.

— ooo —

Midfielder Serginho is no longer at Palmeiras, having returned to Oeste. Palmeiras wanted to extend the loan period, but Oeste were looking for a buyer. Brought in by Gilson Kleina in April of 2013, the player came on the pitch on 29 occasions and scored 5 goals.

Another player who has left the squad is França. The defensive midfielder, rather popular with supporters and feared by adversaries, have been experiencing some very serious personal problems as of late and needs to get out of São Paulo. Franca is heading for first division club Figueirense, from Florianópolis, state of Santa Catarina. Coincidentally, Palmeiras’ Thursday night adversary in the Brazililian Championship.

Apologies for the rather short text and lack of formating: I’m on the road, on a tablet.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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