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Posts Tagged ‘lucas’

No other major Brazilian club has been more active on the 2016/2017 transfer market. Four players have already received coverage here, namely (in order of signing) Raphael Veiga, Hyoran, Keno and Alejandro Guerra, but two more players of rank – both midfielders – have been added to the squad: Michel Bastos and Felipe Melo.
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33-year-old Michel Bastos has been in Palmeiras’ sights for some time. The midfielder, who doubles on the right flank, played eight years in Europe (Lille, Lyon, Schalke 04, Roma) before returning to Brazil and São Paulo FC in 2014. With 10 caps to his CV, Bastos is very experienced, competitive, and in my opinion a very good signing. The agreement is for two years, extendable for one more year.
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melo.
Felipe Melo is also 33, has a solid international career (Fiorentina, Juventus, Galatasaray, Internazionale) and 22 caps with the national squad. 183 cm tall, the aggressive defensive midfielder immediately struck a chord with the bulk of Palmeiras’ supporters, and their enthusiasm captivated the player in return. “I got really impressed by the warmth of the supporters. Even before signing, they already had me feeling like a palmeirense. That makes all the difference”, Melo stated yesterday. The contract is valid for three seasons. Another very good signing, up there leveled with Guerra.

However, Palmeiras have not only signed players, but also defined routes for most of those expected to have limited opportunity in the 32-man squad envisioned by coach Eduardo Baptista:

Three players are heading to Chapecoense, the Santa Catarina club forced to undertake a complete restructuring after the tragic and criminal plane crash. Defensive midfielder Amaral, centre-back Nathan and right-back João Pedro are all on one-year loans. Chapecoense have repeatedly expressed their gratitude toward Palmeiras, saying the Verdão is one of the few clubs to have followed up initial words of solidarity with action.

Right-back Lucas, who spent most of 2016 at Cruzeiro together with Robinho, is today in Rio de Janeiro undergoing medical exams before signing his transfer to Fluminense. Offensive midfielder Robinho is expected to remain in Belo Horizonte, although the deal – which was to include the transfer of right-back Fabiano to Palmeiras – seems to have jammed somewhat.

Matheus Sales, another defensive midfielder, will do a year with Bahia, from Salvador. Also playmaker Cleiton Xavier is heading for the same city, but will play for Vitória, in a permanent deal, releasing him from his contract with Palmeiras. In compensation, Palmeiras will receive 18-year-old offensive midfielder/forward Yan on a one-year loan, with an option to buy. 

Defensive midfielder Gabriel will not remain at Palmeiras, his asking price for renewing considered too high by the management, Corinthians being the likely destination.

Forward Allione is reportedly close to Sport, from Recife.

While all of this is going down, palmeirenses near and far eagerly await but one announcement: who will be the club’s matador in 2017, the true #NINE? Speculations run wild, with heavy-hitters Miguel Borja (Atlético Nacional of Colombia) and Lucas Pratto (Atlético Mineiro) leading the polls. The former is favoured by most, but very expensive. Well, that is what we were told regarding Felipe Melo as well…

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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48 hours after having exited the Paulistão, and Palmeiras were already announcing modifications to the squad. And not minor modifications: regular starting eleven players Robinho and Lucas are off to Cruzeiro in a swap for Fabrício – comfortable as left-back or midfielder – and Fabiano, a right-back who doubles as a fullback. Both newcomers are younger and considerably taller than Robinho and Lucas.
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Fabricio&Fabiano

Fabrício and Fabiano for Robinho and Lucas

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Today, more exits were announced: Nathan is joining Taylor at Criciúma and Victor Luis is heading for Botafogo. None of these transfers are permanent, they are all loan agreements, same as the Cruzeiro swap. Different from Fellype Gabriel, who has been released from his contract. It’s speculated upcoming exits might involve Zé Roberto and Edu Dracena in addition to Leandro Almeida and Régis.

Cuca will keep on trimming, in line with his preference for a leaner squad with multi-purpose players, allowing for high rotation, a multitude of tactical option and an overall more vertical game-plan. The speed by which the aforementioned player transactions happened is the clearest indicator they have been discretely planned for some time, with Cuca in the driver’s seat. The message is clear: no one is untouchable as Cuca embarks on the mission to reformulate the squad according to his preference. And he’s not modest about it. “I know what I’m doing” and “We’re going to win the Brazilian championship this year” are two recent statements.

Good thing Cuca is confident, because the player swap with Cruzeiro is receiving quite some flak from supporters. Less so related to Lucas, who is a shadow of his 2015 self, but Robinho is a different story. Although the midfielder always suffered ups and downs at Palmeiras, he was heading the assists rank and had reached quite some status due to his spectacular braces against SPFC. Robinho was not uncontested, but in any case considered a key players in the squad. Cuca clearly thought differently, probably finding Robinho rather one-dimensional and without the necessary stamina and pace. “But Robinho was the closest to a playmaker we had and now we have none’, supporters protest. And they are right. Cleiton Xavier could be that playmaker (although he´s not a classical #10) but with his recent record of injuries, nothing can be taken for granted. Which has me thinking Palmeiras are preparing a high-profile signing.

In addition to that wishful-thinking-playmaker, is there space for newcomers in the squad? Cuca says he will promote fullback Augusto and midfielder Vitinho from the youth divisions. Argentinians Tobio and Mouche – currently on loan – will soon be available but Cuca´s intentions are unclear. Chances are better for midfielder Juninho, currently on loan to Paulistão finalists Audax. Stay tuned.

Signing off with a piece of bad news: Allione hurt his knee in the last Libertadores bout and today underwent minor surgery. Initial estimates are for some 4-8 weeks of recovery time.

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oswaldo.
When you start off with the right foot, things tend to work better. Palmeiras’ restructuring began with CEO Alexandre Mattos, officially still working at Cruzeiro but already pulling the strings also at Palmeiras. Mattos indicated Cicero Souza as his right hand, the man who will make the link between the CEO and the squad on a day-to-day basis. Souza was announced last week. And tomorrow, Oswaldo Oliveira will be announced coach.

64-year old Oswaldo has experience at Santos, SPFC, Corinthians, Flamengo, Vasco and Botafogo, in addition to four years of coaching in Japan. He will sign a one-year contract and is, I believe, the best option available. Mano Menezes is expensive and not to my liking; Tite idem, and is already putting pen to paper at Corinthians; Cuca is making heaps of money abroad; Abel Braga is leaving Internacional and could have been an option, but will probably seek his fortune outside of Brazil. Thus, Oswaldo it is. And the decision came quickly: an indicator as good as any that Paulo Nobre isn’t the one calling the shots anymore.

Now, players. Strong defensive midfielder Amaral has arrived from Goiás. 23-year-old centre-back Vitor Hugo, one of the best during América Mineiro’s campaign in the second division, comes on a one-year loan with a buying option. 26-year-old right-defender Lukas, Botafogo, is expected to sign any day. Expectations are also high regarding the arrival of 22-year-old defensive midfielder Thiago Mendes, also from Goiás, although both SPFC and a Ukrainian club are competing for the player.

A few bigger names are also entertained, including a first-rank keeper to maintain Prass on his toes, a striker and a playmaker. We’ll call them as they are confirmed.

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