Arsenal must avoid losing millions in Brazilian game of cat-and-mouse

Denilson is all set to sign for Sao Paulo this summer but the Brazilian club want him at a cut-price. Should The Gunners play hard ball or take what they can get?

Arsenal fans; remember Denilson? Well you probably do as a player who never quite lived up to the hype in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield. The former Brazilian youth captain was signed under a weight of expectation and promise from Sao Paulo in 2006 but never quite settled into English football despite the occasional moment of brilliance.

It may however come as a surprise too many that despite not having played for The Gunners since being hauled off at half-time against West Brom in March 2011 he is indeed still an Arsenal player.

That summer he demanded an exit from Arsenal and earned a return to his former club on loan for the season and after a difficult start to his career, which even saw some fans of the club suggest he should never play for the team again, he won over his critics and became a regular in the first-team for O Mais Querido; indeed last season he played 65 games for the team.

He has now been on loan at the club for two seasons and the time has come to confirm his long-term future; with the best interest of all parties surely being that Denilson stays in Brazil.

But Arsenal must make sure they are not taken for mugs by the Brazilian outfit when his current loan-spell ends in 60 days.

This is of course still a 25-year-old lad who is highly regarded by the interested party; Arsenal must make sure they get a fair return. 

However his contract situation with Arsenal probably explains the comments of Sao Paulo vice-president Joao Paulo de Jesus Lopes when talking to ESPN Brasil on Tuesday:

"There are still more than 60 days left on his contract, so there are a couple of points to take into consideration. The first point is that we are interested in the player and the second point is that we must deal with this situation closer to the end of the deal. If we do it too early, it will end up costing us more money."

Denilson signed a 'long-term' deal with The Gunners in 2009 of which the official length was never revealed but according to arseblog it does not expire until the summer of 2014.

Effectively Arsenal must sell him this summer to avoid flushing millions of pounds down the toilet when he inevitably becomes a free agent. Sao Paulo are clearly keen to sign him and instead of getting their just rewards for a player who has now been contracted in North London for seven years they risk simply letting him leave; without as much as a penny worth of reimbursement for the £3.4 million they paid Sao Paulo for him in the first-place if a summer deal is not concluded.

Essentially Sao Paulo would have been paid by Arsenal to buy their player if Denilson is snapped up on a free next summer.

The hierarchy at Arsenal must sell sooner rather than later to avoid having their pants pulled down in the transfer market in a rather embarrassing way.

What do you make of the Denilson transfer saga?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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