Santos, 31, left the Emirates on a permanent basis in 2013 after a roller coaster couple of years that saw him better remembered for a speeding fine than anything approaching consistent defending.
Signed as part of the fabled post-United 8-2 hammering spending spree of August deadline day 2011, he was initially viewed as a popular figure with his rotundity making him just a bit too cuddly to dislike and because he scored in the 5-3 win against Chelsea.
After an ill-advised half time shirt swap with Old Trafford’s Dutch Skunk the terrace good favour seemed to desert the samba star as quickly as his form and a lengthy spell on the sidelines preceded a loan move to Gremio. The return home appeared to do Santos some good, he even won back a place in the Brazilian national team, only for a decisive penalty miss in the Campeanato Gaucho Cup semi-final to further knock his confidence.
In July last year Santos earned a permanent move to Flamengo on a two-year contract, but again it didn’t go well. Left in hospital after an attack by his own fans following a poor performance in a 4-0 defeat to Internacional he had his contract terminated in August by mutual consent and has since been a free agent.
It’s not known if ‘swoontastic’ Pires recommended Santos to his new club – managed by Zico – although the 40-year-old ‘Invincible’ did train with the player during regular returns to London Colney.
It’ll be interesting to see how the pair get on together ahead of FC Goa’s first ever competitive fixture; they play Mikael Silvestre’s Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Fatorda, Margao, on 15 October. Arseblog News will be keeping its fingers crossed for a tweet of ‘verry good win gays’ proportions.
Ex-Gunners Freddie Ljungberg and Nicolas Anelka, both signed by Mumbai City, are also preparing for the new season as are the likes of Luis Garcia (Atletico de Kolkata), Alessandro Del Piero (Delhi Dynamos), David Trezeguet (FC Pune City) and David James (Kerala Blasters).