When Edu was appointed Arsenal’s technical director not many paid that much attention. Candidates with much bigger profiles had spurned the post or weren’t even considered, leaving Edu to be seen by many as the last man standing with no obvious competition. Monchi, Overmars and Mislintat were discounted quickly and Arsenal were secretly the butt of jokes within football circles because of their inability to attract a big name.
At the time of his appointment, Edu was still with the Brazilian national team as general coordinator, at a time when they were competing for the Copa America. They went on to win it and Edu signed for Arsenal (again). The speculation prior to his move was relentless and I remember writing a blog that he had begun looking at possible targets via his considerable network of South American contacts.
Edu managed to pull off a master stoke by securing the services of Gabriel Martinelli, which raised a few eyebrows. Since then, Jurgen Klopp has praised the youngster describing him as a ‘talent of the century’
“He’s 18 years old, right? So our scouting department is all over the world and stuff like this, but I think Edu gets all the credit for that signing – he came from… wherever.”
“He’s really unbelievable. So young, looks so mature already, is a proper threat. Yeah, he looks like a really decent player.”
It’s now said that in this transfer window and in the summer, Edu will be reaching out and covering the Brazilian leagues looking for the next big thing. We now know that Edu has already begun his quest and has been in contact with Athletico Paranaense regarding midfielder Bruno Guimaraes.
A week ago, Arsenal were said to be looking at Coritiba right-back Yan Couto, who can’t get a full debut for his club but graces the Brazilian first team regularly. Yes, Edu is putting out his feelers to grab a considerable bargain and considering Martinelli cost just over £6m, the former Arsenal midfielder could potentially save Arsenal a fortune.
There is a current crop of talent that could potentially be on Edu’s radar including Ramires (18, attacking midfielder, Bahia), Renan Lodi (20, left-back, Atlético-PR), Everton (22, winger, Grêmio) and Pedrinho (20, winger, Corinthians). Brazil currently has a wealth of talent at the moment which could form one of the strongest national squads since the 1970’s. If Edu can get another player of the quality of Martinelli, the joke will be on someone else.