Analysis – There are very good reasons why Arsenal are targeting Brazilians

The Boys from Brazil by Peter Doherty
The proliferation of Brazilian players in the Arsenal squad since Edu’s appointment is not a coincidence. When you employ someone whose previous position was from within the Brazilian national team set up, you anticipate that he will take with him a knowledge of that country and an extensive network of connections. It’s a decision that was made in order to cultivate a connection in Brazil, and it is reaping dividends.
For Brazilians football is a religion. It consumes them. If you travel through the country you will see football being played everywhere. And I’m not referring to the quality pitches, Mondo turfs and floodlit venues you might encounter when travelling Europe. Any bare scrap of ground regardless of surface will suffice for a game of football or futsal in Brazil. It is also a country that has immense poverty evident in its sprawling favelas. And this is important.
A typical European player will progress through an  underage team structure with some degree of coaching. Football will compete for their attention along with multiple other sports they have the facilities to avail of. The majority will be transported to their chosen sport by their parents or the club will provide. If the player shows potential then there will come a decision time as to whetherto  pursue a career or explore other options. The overwhelming majority of Brazilians don’t have a choice. Football is the only escape.
This lack of option creates a hunger that is not softened by indecision and the attractions of other life paths. It instils a determination and drive that is insatiable because it is the only way out of poverty. Playing without facilities and structure creates a willingness to suffer for your sport. It is win at all costs. When you consider these circumstances and the scale of the population of Brazil it is unsurprising that it provides so many professional footballers to Europe. The Portuguese league understood the benefits of this connection a long time ago and have exploited it, aided by the fact that it was a former Portuguese colony and they share a language.
Arsenal’s strategy is a smart one. If you populate your squad with Brazilian footballers your profile in the country automatically increases. The popularity of the club grows and those hopefuls start to yearn to play for Arsenal as well as Real Madrid and Barcelona. This creates a player base of huge potential with a desire to come to the Emirates as their dream destination. This policy has seen the arrival of Marquinhos as the first of a possible long line of Brazilian prospects.
Considering the quality that Brazilian footballers have brought to the world stage for generations this offers a very potent exciting future.
That’s my input for this fine Sunday morning.


CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link

JUST ARSENAL SHOW – Our Optimistic Gooner Matt Smith discusses Arsenal’s transfer window

Please enjoy, watch and subscribe to JustArsenalVids

Tags Brazilians


  1. Excellent article. A very good comparison between a typical European player and someone from favela

    However, the homegrown quota forces Arsenal to develop their own talents. I think Flores and Hutchinson are currently the most skilled ones

  2. That’s some good stuff. I always noticed that South American players (not just Brazillians) are skillful and full of grit. And your second point is great too. We can be as attractive to that part of the world as Real And Barcelona.

  3. I concur with you only that we should emphasize on getting the very best of them ,Brazilians , you know what I mean, look at their national side and get two or three for the wings… Then go to Argentina and get one strong player for LB…the South American footballers are gifted and nurtured fighters as you have well put it. Arsenal needs bloody fighters for the league isn’t easy at all. Salad takers can’t give us the league at all.

    1. I think the policy of buying proven quality as in Jesus, and taking a punt as in Marquinhos and Martinelli is a good combination. Every transfer is a risk and like it or not for every Gilberto there is an Andre Santos.

  4. The genius of Mikel, fetch two birds with one stone – The commitment of S American footballers is next to none, so as a team we keep pushing harder and climbing the ladder. Next we have the next gen kids wanting to be part of our club and ethos. Brilliant.

  5. A billion Africans live in poverty. 3.5 Billion Asians live in poverty. So may be we should be scouring those continents too for talent. With 4.5 billion poverty stricken people between them surely we can source a decent LB and DM by the end of August.

    1. There is a definitely an untapped market there, but the culture is different. The love affair with football in Brazil runs deep. Having travelled extensively in Asia seeing a game of football was a scarcity. In India you would frequently encounter cricket. Africa however has definitely potential.

  6. An excellent article and it makes complete and obvious sense too.
    I have not read articles by this writer before. He may or may not have written any; I do not know at all.

    But I would like to hear far more from this fine mind and I applaud EVERY TRUE AND SENSIBLE WORD in this piece from Peter!
    I recall, as do most others, how Wenger with his vast knowledge of the French market, rapidly improved our team and squad with many excellent French players.

    I say use what excellent specialist knowledge you have and use it to our clubs advantage.

    That is what AW did and now Edu is doing.

  7. It’s actually true of a number of countries – or it was.

    Watcing the film The Three Kings, it shows that Scotland was similar in the past, before the Glasgow slums of the Gorbals were levelled and replaced with modern buildings. Back then, football was the escape route for working class kids to escape a life of drudgery in a dead-end manual job.

    Busby, Shankly, Docherty, Stein and more recently Ferguson were the product of this at a managerial level, many others as players – the country punched well above its weight in football terms for a population of a mere 5 million (compare to Brazil’s 200 milion, England’s 55 million).

    But when a country’s economy improves, people have other choices, so the drive is lost – hence Scotland’s demise on the world stage, sinking back closer to the expected level for their population size.

    Germany maybe does better than it should for a first-world economy but it does also have a rather large population size and a good setup.

    So it may be worth keeping an eye on Brazil’s economic development in the years to come, since that will have a direct impact on the quality of the raw talent emerging.

  8. Great article that I enjoyed reading while nodding my head in agreement.

    However, it does (?) highlight a weakness in Edu that being his knowledge of the rest of the world, football wise.

    As GAI pointed out, there are opportunities across the globe and I wonder if, by breaking up our scouting system, we are not missing out on that market place?

    Just to acknowledge JF’s point about AW (and of course David Dein) and the success with our French contingent – let’s hope that MA (and Edu of course) can bring the same kind of success (then they would all be geniuses).

    It does seem that manure are following the same pattern, with their manager’s Dutch connection.

    Grear article and discussion points.

  9. A very beautiful article by the writer,

    I would have like to see Raphinha among those three lads in the picture, but maybe it’s not to be.

    So as Jon mentioned Wenger and the France
    contingent and how they dramatically improve the squad, Edu you must take a leaf out of the great man book.

    Edu should find it more easy to extract the raw and established talent from Brazil to improve Arsenal squad, than Wenger was able to with the French players, simple because of the position he held in Brazil football and current position at Arsenal.

    Over to you now Edu, there must be better players from Brazil than Melo at Juventus

  10. A really good piece peter. Edu should mix it up a little bit more like what Wenger did in his days. you can imagine having 6 Brazilians in your first team and they play Thursday morning and you have a Saturday early kick off game.

  11. I love how you made us understand the hunger of the average Brazilian footballer from a social perspective. All the factors you highlighted are the reasons the football world has been privileged to see Pele, Jarzinho, Romario, Bebeto, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Robinho, and most recently Vinicius Jnr.
    Edu and Arteta may just unearth the next Brazilian star. And if we can make the upcoming pool of next-generation Brazilian talent, consider Arsenal in the same light as Barca and Madrid, as possible career paths, then the future bodes well for Arsenal.
    There are also massive commercial opportunities for Arsenal to explore in Brazil, especially as regards shirt sales.
    Thank you for such amazing insight and the comparison to the Wenger and Dein era with the French connection. I will learn a thing or two form you, Peter.
    Cheers to the new week.

  12. As someone who loved every minute of Germany thrashing Brazil 7 – 1 in their home world cup, I think the article is sloppy and mostly wishful thinking. I was teaching an English class of mostly ( middle class, white, educated) Brazilian students at that time and were surprised by how indifferent many of them were both to the defeat or of a home world cup. They understand that Brazil had more serious problems to deal with. I love having Brazilian students in my classes but also I understand that they can be opportunistic and know how to follow the money. If this is true for the middle classes imagine what it must be like for the majority, struggling to get out of the poverty cycles. It’s no coincidence that Brazilian footballers are amongst the most mercenary. In brief, I believe that it would be a lazy policy which will backfire should Edu limit his recruiting to only Portuguese speakers or those presented by his agent pals. It’s a big wide world out there and there is great talent to be found in Africa, South America and Asia as well as tired Europe. It’s a matter of having a professional scouting system and providing incentives to be able to compete in what is a crowded field. And yes of course I hope Edu gives us our own Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Falcao etc, but if it doesn’t work out we’ll see more William type duds.

    1. Brazil has the widest dichotomy between rich and poor in the world with the exception of India. It is a country of polar opposites and the privileged protect their wealth through a corrupt political system, which is far from unique but they happen to be very successful at it. The students you refer to are most likely beneficiaries rather than the victims of the system and don’t qualify as part of the aforementioned social group in the article. The article isn’t advocating singular focus on Brazil but highlighting the potential of this particular target market.

  13. A well written article, but can’t those characteristics be applied to other nations as well? Good comment by IDKWIC about Scotland, can make an argument for England as well.

    Argentina can also make a case, but I guess we all get the point.

    My concern is Edu doesn’t have adequate knowledge of other markets, like other South American countries.

  14. First of all we will never be able to compete with Barcelona, Madrid and teams from Portugal etc on a level bargaining chip. The culture of those countries is far different to ours and more attractive in many ways. That doesn’t say we can’t still tap into the market but that also applies to other countries and teams doing the same. It isnt ground breaking, its how it is. Edu gives us some sort of advantage because he is Brazilian but he will always be fighting on a lower level than others that have been established in the market for years. Until we change our culture (England) which will never happen or win the CL regularly, which also will not happen, we will always be battling the field in Brazil. That doesn’t mean we can’t get gems but like i said, it isn’t anything new and doesn’t stop with Brazil.

  15. As brazilian, I should say I`m part of those who are beggining to watch Arsenal football games closer as I love to follow our talents worldwide.
    I`m starting to be an Arsenal Fan, and will probably buy an Arsenal kit soon.
    I also invite you guys to watch some “Libertadores” games, it`s UEFA Champions League version for South America, you might enjoy the atmosphere, and of course, cheer for Flamengo team! 😀

  16. Pretty soon, Arsenal and Pl clubs will have to move on to new markets.the days of getting real bargains in Brazil or South America are nearly over,the clubs over there have finally copped only have to look at the fees recently paid by club like Brighton or Norwich who bought a 23 years old Brazilian for 12M£ plus another 3M in adds on and a sell on clause,I know it is still cheap but it won’t last,we were “lucky” with Marquinhos otherwise he would have cost way more(15/20M).

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs