by Guy P.
Arsenal’s André Santos has not displayed any of the qualities expected of him – except for speed of course. But that was off the pitch back in August, when he was clocked by police driving at 140mph in his Maserati supercar, leading to a twelve month driving ban.
Many Arsenal fans would not have shed a tear had the ban also been imposed on the pitch, so inept have his performances been.
Two weeks ago, in yet another much maligned incident, Santos incurred the wrath of fans by swapping shirts with Manchester United and former Arsenal star Robin Van Persie at half-time. This was the only occasion during the match that Santos displayed even the slightest interest in any of Manchester United’s attacking players.
Ecuadorian winger Valencia, in particular, humiliated the Brazilian dribbling effortlessly past him on the rare occasion that Santos was in his allotted position. There was one hint of attacking Brazilian flair with a run which culminated in a cross. But the ball ended up in the stands.
Last weekend against Tottenham, despite the continued absence of first choice left back Kieran Gibbs, Santos was left on the bench and centre back Vermaelen was played there instead. Aaron Lennon must have been disappointed to see that he had been left out of the starting line up.
In Santos’s defence not only is he ‘friendly and considerate’ (Arsene Wenger’s description of the player in his character statement in court), but he has twenty-two caps for the Brazilian national side (though many of these appearances were in meaningless friendly games). Recently, and perhaps in light of his Arsenal performances, the caps have dried up completely.
Undoubtedly Santos’ attacking ability is his main strength, which may yet see him deployed further forward on the left side of midfield. But Arsene Wenger already has a flock of wingers at his disposal.
We hope that Santos proves us wrong. Perhaps he’s just taking time to bed in. But the portents so far aren’t at all encouraging.
Guy Portman, soccersweep