After a lot was made of his 2010 signing from Fluminense what have Arsenal got to show for it right now, as the 'next Robinho' toils in Spain's lower leagues.
After a recent post about the exceptional future potential of Serge Gnabry in place of Theo Walcott a few interesting comments definitely came through. A few people highlighted the lack of quality on show in the video (of which I do genuinely agree; not the best compilation of his talents) but I have seen him play a few times and he looks unstoppable. Strong, fast, intricate and determined he is an obvious talent.
When Arsenal signed him he was considered the ‘next Robinho’ and the reasons why were obvious. Dextrous positionally, a bag of step-overs and tricks not to mention being a talented finisher it appeared Arsenal had tied down one of football’s next big things in 2010 when they confirmed his signing from Fluminense.
He had excelled at youth level for Brazil representing age-groups above his threshold for much of his development including participating at the 2009 World Under-17 championships in Nigeria along with future Brazilian internationals Neymar, Phillipe Coutinho and Casemiro.
Since those loft aspirations were stirred things have not worked out for the trickster; firstly he was denied a special talent visa to work in the UK and was therefore ineligible to play for Arsenal and he was loaned out to Spain with Levante. Despite his excellent start to his Arsenal career which included a wonderful goal against Manchester United Reserves and a sensational performance against Dagenham & Redbridge things at Levante were not so pleasant.
He played just two games in his time at the club and was eventually sent back to North London with his tail between his legs after reports of a poor attitude while at the Valencian club. A quick resolution was sought by The Gunners and he was farmed to another Valencian side in C.D Alcoyano playing in the Segunda Division. Despite showing off his obvious repertoire of tricks and fancy flicks his impact at the side was inconsistent and they finished 21st therefore being relegated to the third tier of Spanish football.
This season he has again been loaned out to Spain, this time with Ponferradina, where the presence of a more experienced duo of Portuguese speakers in the form of Yuri and former Malaga defender Helder Rosario will hopefully steady his reported attitude problems. He has in fact already scored this campaign, against Villarreal in the Copa Del Rey and is trying to force his way into the team and resurrect his development.
However he comes as yet more proof that a burgeoning youth level reputation and YouTube video of snippets of high footballing ability laid onto a backing track of Central European techno music is not enough to make it in the game.
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge