Andre Santos has revealed that his performance for Brazil against Scotland in a friendly at the Emirates was the catalyst for his move to Arsenal.
Impressing for the Selecao in the match in March 2011, the left-back confirmed that he received a phone call from Arsene Wenger as the boss scoured the globe for last-gasp recruits in the final days of last summer’s transfer window.
Speaking in an extensive (and well worth reading interview) with The Elastico, Santos revealed the conversation which persuaded him to quit Turkey for the Premier League:
“Arsenal first contacted my agent, Carlos Leite, who has been my agent for more then three years.
“He spoke about interest from Arsene Wenger, because during the friendly match with Scotland at the Emirates I had played very well.
“Wenger watched me and at the moment that I heard about the interest, I wanted to do the move.
“The discussions and negotiations began. Arsenal were at a difficult time and it would be a good opportunity for me. Carlos Leite advised me and said that Arsene Wenger wished to get in touch to talk to me.
“It was very pleasing that a great manager with his qualities wanted to bring me to his club. Arsenal is a big club with a rich history.
“When he called, I saw an English prefix on the phone. He spoke English, I only knew a few words and my English was flawed, but the conversation still went smoothly. He understood what I said and stressed that playing for Arsenal would be an enrichment.
“I wanted to help and the next day I was already on the plane for the contract negotiations and medical tests.”
Admitting that he came to England to win titles and to regain his position in the national team, Santos admitted that he still has work to do on improving the defensive side of his game.
“In Brazil, we have laterais, and they attack a lot. In Brazil, you always attack. In Europe it’s the opposite: you can not attack.
“It is therefore difficult for a Brazilian player [in my position], when he travels to Europe to adapt himself to this mentality. He can not attack, but has to defend. But thanks to my time at Fenerbahce, I learned enough in terms of defensive work and positional play.
“The Premier League is obviously one of the best leagues in the world. The defence is an important part of it and I have learned a lot this season. It is certainly true that I am technically skilful and rather quick.
“Today I learn how to mark and support the attack when going forward, but next season I hope to make progress for Arsenal so I can become a regular starter.”
Arseblog News certainly recognises that Santos is far from being the finished article…unless of course the finished article happens to be a stabby-tackling, deftly left-footed maverick with a nonchalant attitude towards defending and toned abs.
What a gay.
To read the whole interview in which Santos talks about his formative steps in the game, his move to Europe, his aims at Arsenal, his take on Van Persie’s future and his desire to play at the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, click here.