Written by chas
Andre Clarindo Dos Santos was born on the 8th March 1983 in São Paulo, Brazil. His early career at Figueirense was as a left winger. After loan spells at Flamengo and Athletico Mineiro, he joined Corinthians and was successfully converted into an attacking left back. Fenerbahce signed Andre in 2009 and he soon took over from his compatriot Roberto Carlos at left back. The Turkish club’s removal from the Champions League for 2011/12 due to a match–fixing scandal helped to convince the Brazilian that his career might be best furthered elsewhere. He joined Arsenal on 31st Aug 2011 and was given the highly appropriate number 11 shirt.
When he joined The Gunners, Andre was quick to make the kind of statement guaranteed to ensure he received a warm welcome from the supporters… “All the Brazilians who came to this club spoke wonders about it and I am delighted to be part of the Arsenal family.” Sylvinho, Edu, Gilberto, Baptista, Denilson and Eduardo formed an impressive line of Brazilian nationals to have played in the famous red and white with varying degrees of success. Would Andre Santos emerge as a flying Sylvinho with a valid passport or a lacklustre Beast with faulty dentures?
It has been reported that our new Brazilian was never without a football as a youngster and once he joined a professional club, his appetite for goals was honed with extra shooting practice before training started.
Our new number 11’s first outing came away at Blackburn and was greeted with mixed reviews (his performance largely hidden away by Arsenal’s abject second half display). Being only slightly taller than Kieran Gibbs but ‘several’ pounds heavier led to accusations of being a little bit of a ‘salad dodger’. It now seems amusing that this first impression has not been dispelled. The way he seems to be completely out of breath about ten minutes into each game but is still straining every sinew to give his all for the team after 94 minutes is a joy to behold. Perhaps fish and chips should be a rare treat rather than the cornerstone of a footballer’s diet! (I believe this was an item for Brazilian TV, by the way)
After Arsenal’s 3-0 win over the Baggies, Santos again added to his growing ability to raise a smile from Gooners everywhere by tweeting, “Verry good win gays!!! #GoArsenal”, quickly followed by a profuse apology for his unfortunate misspelling. Goals against Olympiakos and in the magnificent humbling of Chelsea at the Bridge have meant that, in less than a dozen games, Andre has equalled Gael Clichy’s glorious 2 goals in 264 Arsenal games record.
Santos likes to wear his socks Thierry style, leading some to assume he wears white tights. The English climate doesn’t seem to have disturbed his Latin rhythms though, and the transition from Turkey to N5 has been a seamless one so far.
With each game our new Brazilian plays, there seem to be a growing number of converts to the Santos fan club. His ability on the ball is difficult to question; quick feet, superb ball control and a passion for rampaging forward all mean that when Santos gets the ball some entertainment will usually follow. His teammates know he’s confident to receive the ball, even under pressure, and his passing stats are reflecting this confidence. Perhaps, Andre’s positional sense isn’t completely suited to the rigours of Premiership football but his ability to win the ball in one-on-one situations is largely down to his superb skills of anticipation and timing. He always seems to have a smile on his face and genuinely wants to play as part of a team.
I intended this post as a discussion of our new Brazilian’s pros and cons but my growing love for his ability on the football pitch has made this a rather one-sided discussion. After all, his love of large round objects is clear for all to see!