AS the Olympic football tournament begins to shift up through the gears two of Brazil’s brightest talents are poised to keep shining in the Premier League this season.
Already Oscar has signed for Chelsea (see page 16 of this weeks newsletter – Issue Eight) in a deal worth in excess of £25million and will wear the blue No 11 shirt as manager Roberto Di Matteo hopes that 21-year-old attacking midfielder can help supply the ammunition for Fernando Torres, who appears rejuvenated at long last.
Alongside Eden Hazard, Chelsea look set to develop their own blend of pace and precision so Torres can get the kind of service provided by Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard during his prime days at Liverpool.
By reputation, Oscar operates in the classic Brazilian No 10 role where his link play and individual-running threat should create a host of chances for Chelsea.
His current Olympic team-mate Lucas Moura (pictured above) has, arguably, more buzz about him and already Sir Alex Ferguson has gone public with his interest, a rare move by the Manchester United manager who has also openly courted Arsenal’s Robin van Persie this summer.
Lucas Moura is only 19 and one look at his highlight reels on YouTube immediately conjure up memories of a young Cristiano Ronaldo – high on the spectacular but not exactly complete when it comes to the end product.
As things stand United appear to be finalizing an agreement with Sao Paulo close to £30million with a delegation led by the club’s chief scout Jim Lawlor having already visited Brazil. The player himself, however, has revealed that no decisions will be made until his Olympic campaign has come to an end.
Interestingly, the contrasts between the success in signing Brazilians is quite stark between both Chelsea and United. Alex, David Luiz and Ramires in particular, have all proved productive at Stamford Bridge whereas Sir Alex’s strike rate with Brazilians, and indeed many of his South American signings, has been very poor.
For all of Antonio Valencia’s positive contributions you need only look at Kleberson, Gabriel Heinze, Juan Veron and Alex Possebon to discover United’s Latino busts while the jury is still out on the da Silva twins and midfielder Anderson, who must surely be on his last chance this season.
No country of origin excites supporters more than Brazil, but for every Premier League success like Ramires or Juninho there is an Alfonso Alves, Roque Junior, Robinho, Julio Baptista or Jo to bring out the groans and sighs from their former devoted followers.
Should United capture Lucas Moura it will be interesting to see if they can break miserable luck on South American signings, or will Oscar provide Chelsea another reason to celebrate Mardi Gras at the Bridge.
Writer – Irish Daily Mail