Today, Palmeiras’ new football manager was officially announced: Alexandre Mattos has signed a two-year agreement and will be the main responsible for assembling a squad, and hopefully a winning one, as he did in Cruzeiro 2013-2014.
During the brief press conference starting at noon, Mattos stressed that it was an honour to work at Palmeiras and that he would do just that – work hard and relentlessly – aiming for championship titles. He stated several times that Palmeiras were on the right track in terms of planning and financial responsibility, and that his mission was to bring in the best players he possibly could without sidestepping the Nobre administration’s guiding principles of not spending above revenues and offer contracts based on performance.
As of now, Mattos will personally scout and initiate (in some cases even carry on, I suspect) negotiations with a few names of star quality.
Not only Mattos started working today, but so did the whole squad. Well, “whole” as a manner of speaking: the near relegation in 2014 has provoked rather dramatic change to the squad and 21 players were not present at today’s regrouping, including eight players who are still under contract but will train separately while waiting to be placed in other team. This group of eight consist of goalkeepers Bruno and Raphael, right-back Weldinho, defensive midfielders Bruno and Wesley, and offensive midfielders Felipe Menezes and Mazinho. Wesley’s destiny is certain – São Paulo FC – but as Wesley has another few months to his contract and Palmeiras and SPFC have so far been unable to reach an agreement, Wesley stays put, training separately. I’d suggest feeding him Coca Cola and burgers for the remainder of his time at the Verdão.
Two other players under contract have already been placed in other clubs: keeper Deola at Fortaleza and defensive midfielder Bruno Dybal at Japanese club Ventforet Kofu. In addition, just now, news reach us that midfielders Mazinho and Patrick Vieira will transfer to Curitiba, on a one-year loan, as part of Palmeiras’ purchase of playmaker Robinho – one of the most accurate passers in 2014. To get their hands on 50% of the 27-year-old’s economic and federative rights, Palmeiras , in addition to the two players, chip in a little over US$ 1 million. Good stuff.
Then there’s Lúcio. The veteran centre-back is negotiating his transfer to a Chinese club, which definitively is the best solution for everyone.
A few players did not see their contracts renewed in 2015: right-back Wendel, left-back Juninho, centre-back Victorino, defensive midfielders Eguren, Washington and Marcelo Oliveira, offensive midfielders Bernardo, Bruno Cesar and Fernandinho and strikers Henrique and Diogo.
Yes, that brings the total up to 21.
On the other hand, a few Palmeiras player on loan to other clubs in 2014 have returned and one of two might get a shot: right-back Ayrton, centre-back Luiz Gustavo, defensive midfielder John Denoni, offensive midfielder Tiago Real, and forwards Maikon Leite and Vinicius. In addition to these, defensive midfielder Lucas Morelatto and playmaker Julen have joined in from the youth academy, while centre-back Thiago Martins and left-back Matteus Muller recover in the medical department. Also from the youth academy we’ll have right-back João Pedro and centre-back Nathan, but they are currently serving the U20 national team and will only be available to Oswaldo de Oliveira in early February.
We have the eight newly signed players: from Botafogo, right-back Lucas and defensive midfielder Gabriel; from Flamengo, left-back João Paulo; from América/MG, centre-back Vitor Hugo and defensive midfielder Andrei Girotto; from Goiás, defensive midfielder Amaral; from Grêmio, midfielder Zé Roberto; and from Chapecoense, forward Leandro Pereira. Well, it’s now nine if we include Robinho.
Today’s activity included a bit of jogging, a chat with coach Oswaldo, and medical exams. The training will step up as of Friday. On 1 February we have Palmeiras’ debut in this year’s edition of the São Paulo championship, away against Grêmio Osasco Audax
Below, the complete list composing the 33 players present today:
Goalkeepers: Fernando Prass, Jailson, Fábio and Vinicius
Wing-backs: Lucas, Ayrton, Victor Luis and João Paulo
Centre-backs: Tobio, Vitor Hugo, Wellington and Gabriel Dias
Defensive midfielders: Luiz Gustavo, Renato, Amaral, Gabriel, João Denoni, Andrei Girotto and Lucas Morelatto
Offensive midfielders: Zé Roberto, Valdivia, Mendieta, Patrick Vieira, Allione, Tiago Real and Julen
Forwards: Cristaldo, Mouche, Rodolfo, Leandro, Maikon Leite, Vinicius and Leandro Pereira