Posts Tagged ‘transfer market’

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.
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.
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…

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mad hatter2.
It’s called a “chapéu” in Brazil, a “hat”: the art of flicking the ball over an opponent’s head in a manner that normally looks – and certainly feels – rather humiliating for the latter. Mention the chapéu to any Palmeiras supporter and he will most likely recollect Alex de Souza’s little masterpiece against SPFC in 2002 (below).

Now, a chapéu can also be performed off the pitch, in any circumstance in life, denominating a surprising turn of events with an unexpected victory or achievement. Sunday morning, Palmeiras were the protagonist behind one of the most impacting chapéus in recent times, officially announcing the signing of forward Dudu.

Dudu_dynamoEduardo Perira Rodrigues – known as Dudu – is a 23-year-old forward who started his career at Cruzeiro before, still a teenager, transferring to Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev. He has played two caps for Brazil, in addition to seven caps at U20 level. Last season he was back in Brazil, on loan to Grêmio, and everybody expected him to transfer to either SPFC or Corinthians this season, as both clubs radiated their optimism in closing the deal – Corinthians even semi-officially advertising him and including him on the list of players bound for the USA for a number of pre-season friendly games.

São Paulo FC or Corinthians, Corinthians of São Paulo FC? While the two battled it out, Palmeiras’ football manager Alexandro Mattos made a few calls and rapidly closed the deal. For 100% of Dudu’s federative and economic rights, Palmeiras will pay Dynamo approximately US$ 7 million in two instalments. The player’s salaries will match Valdivia’s: some US$ 130 per month.

Dudu is a quality player. Very fast, he likes to burst down the left flank, steal the ball, set up counter-attacks. Technically and tactically, for Palmeiras, is he worth the US$ 7 million and the high salary? Time will tell. One thing’s for sure: in terms of recovering the self esteem of palmeirenses, Dudu came cheap. The chapéu, actually the DOUBLE chapéu that Palmeiras pulled off, was a surgical operation bearing all the characteristics of Mattos: quick, convincing, efficient. Believe me when I say Palmeiras supporters were smiling from ear to ear all Sunday afternoon.

But Mattos is not resting on the trigger: today Palmeiras announced two more players, the tenth and eleventh, respectively:

Rafael_marquesRafael Marques: to be honest, there are only moderate expectations in regard to the arrival of the 31-year-old centre-forward, but as he comes on a loan until the end of the year, no harm done. It was actually coach Oswaldo who requested him, them both recently having worked together at Botafogo. Starting his career at Campinas, Rafael has been around quite a bit, playing predominantly at smaller clubs in the state of São Paulo, with a brief session in-between at Palmeiras in 2004. He later transferred to Turkey, where he played for two different clubs, before playing three seasons for Japanese Omiya Ardija. After that he had his 2012-2013 Botafogo spell, before another international transfer, this time to Chinese Henan Jianye. Enough?

robinhoRobinho: the so far most dragged out negotiations were finally concluded today as Coritiba accepted Palmeiras fourth offer, receiving the equivalent of US$ 900.000 for 50% of the 27-year-old playmaker’s economic rights. In addition to the money, Palmeiras lend Coritiba midfielder Mazinho (one year loan, salaries paid by Palmeiras) and two other players of Coritiba’s choice (out of a restricted list, of course, and these two also on loan with salaries paid by Palmeiras).

Robinho had a very good 2014 at Coritiba. He is well known for his precise passes, and comes with recommendations from master chapeleiro Alex de Souza himself (they played together at Coritiba): “here he played well, my friend. good player, helped out a lot here in the last years”, Alex messaged me on twitter. In the end, Robinho’s desire to play for Palmeiras was a determining factor in the negotiations.
Fool if you think it’s over. Paulo Nobre has indicated there’s room for additional signing, and Mattos is on it. Already tomorrow, Palmeiras are expected to announce the signing of forward Jonathan Cafu, from Ponte Preta. Palmeiras are purchasing 25% of the 23-year-old’s economic rights, and rumours have it the contract has a duration of three years.

Negotiations are also well advanced with centre-back Victor Ramos, former Vitória and Vasco da Gama, currently at Mexican Monterrey.

aroucaIn addition, expectations are VERY high for a positive disclosure with 28-year-old defensive midfielder Arouca. Palmeiras and the player are in agreement and were conducting negotiations with Santos, but Santos started making tough demands, before suddenly announcing Arouca would either remain at Santos or transfer to a foreign club. Arouca finally had enough and last Friday filed a lawsuit against Santos, demanding a release from his contract due to a breach in regard to salaries: Santos owe Arouca and many other players in the squad three months of salaries – by law, enough for them to be released from their contracts. And in cases like these, the Brazilian justice system works fast and “always” in favour of the employee. Arouca should be free to sign a new contract by the end of the week. Great signing, if everything goes according to plan.

Finishing things off, a short note on forward Leandro, our number 38, who was out during the last month of the previous season due to pains in his left foot. During the pre-season, pains quickly returned and the solution was surgery. He should be leaving the hospital tomorrow but can only be expected back on the pitch within 2-3 months. Anything Palmeiras wishes Leandro a speedy recovery.

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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.

ImageVictorino 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.

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21052013bspalmeirasdnovacamisa130063An outspoken and fervent defender of administrative virtues like professionalism and sound financial management, it came as a bit of a surprise when Palmeiras president Paulo Nobre last week announced that he avoids setting deadlines “in order not to be held hostage to them”. A rather peculiar statement from a man coming from the financial world.

Everything in life has a deadline; the ultimate, of course, being death. Deadlines keep us focused, set priorities, have team members pull in the same direction. They also help when difficult decisions need to be made.

Nobre tries to implement certain changes (paradigm changes, even) to the economic life of S.E. Palmeiras, and there are a few principles in play. He seems to be sticking to them like glue – and they do carry strong logic – but they are also doubled-edged swords.

One of the principles is that Palmeiras might currently be weaker than we’d want to, but that the club shouldn’t ever settle for second best when it comes to revenues. The absence of a master sponsor illustrates this better than anything else, as Nobre has refused to sign anything but a major sponsorship deal. In the end, that major deal never materialized in 2013, leaving Palmeiras’ jersey clean. The principle might be dignifying, but should have been not only constantly evaluated but subject to a deadline. Comes a time when one needs to face the music, cut one’s losses. Had Palmeiras at a certain point in time accepted a sponsor a little less major, millions and millions of reais would be fortifying the club’s cash flow right now. It’s very hard to know when that certain point in time has come. A pre-established deadline certainly helps.   

Same goes for athletes who are offered a new contract with remunerated based on performance and results. Nobre s trailing new ground, at least in Brazil, but seems to be facing considerable resistance. True, the transfer market has not quite reached momentum, but fact is Palmeiras had a month’s negotiating advantage that has gone up in smoke.

Former president Belluzzo dreamt of a strong Palmeiras on the pitch, dreamt of triumphs and titles. He gambled big, he brought in expensive players. And he failed. Nobre certainly shares the same dream, but his approach is rather the opposite. Too much the opposite? Before long Nobre might need to loosen up a bit, or risk ending up with the spoils as more merited players follow the money thrown at them from elsewhere. Hardly a dream scenario in the year of the centenary, with the Paulista championship kicking off against Linense on 19 January… We have a month.

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