As per the multiple outlets, Edu Gaspar will become Arsenal’s Technical Director after the Copa America concludes, which would be on July 8th.
We all know Edu as a player, a reliable midfielder who was part of the Invincibles side and the team that went 49 games unbeaten.
However, post his footballing career, he isn’t too well known worldwide. Truth be told, information on Edu isn’t that readily available. He isn’t a Monchi or a Marc Overmars, where getting the required details are a lot easier, considering they have been Director of Football at good European clubs.
This is why I spoke to UOL and ESPN journalist – Mauro Cezar, you can find him on twitter @maurocezar. He also happens to be a Brazilian football expert and has an extensive knowledge on Brazil and South American football in general. I asked him the following questions:
1.What is Edu Gaspar’s current role for Brazil and what criteria was he hired based on?
Mauro: “He is the director of the Brazilian team, curiously chosen by the coach, Tite, who with Edu worked for Corinthians. A situation at least strange, because in theory he is the head of Tite, who indicated it. Professionals do not usually choose their superiors hierarchically. “
2.What do you think are Edu’s strengths and weaknesses in this?
Mauro: “Has experience for being a player and is well articulated, knows how to communicate. However, in general, it adopts political stance, it does not seem able to impose itself in the disciplinary part. He took part in the most expensive signing in Corinthians history, Alexandre Pato, which then also became the most expensive failure, without giving a technical return after costing 15 million euros in 2013, an amount unimaginable for a Brazilian club in season. He was also loaned to rivals Sao Paulo for which he scored more goals than Corinthians.”
3. Various outlets have confirmed he will be joining Arsenal as a ‘Technical Director’. Is he a good fit for this role?
Mauro: “To affirm that yes or that would not be correct, would seem like attempt of divination. But his work in the selection does not seem to accredit him. Especially for the paternalistic stance, which peaked after the elimination to Belgium at the 2018 World Cup, when Neymar was criticised worldwide for his behaviour on the field and Edu released the famous phrase: “It’s not easy being Neymar.” He went on to say, “It pays some pity, because what this boy suffers is not easy.” Boy? He is 27 years old and he is a father!”
4. Gabriel Martinelli is set to join Arsenal once he turns 18, who is he exactly, and how good is his potential?
Mauro: “He called attention to Ituano, a small team, in the São Paulo championship, which is a local competition, restricted to the State of São Paulo, something that only exists in Brazil. Imagine the United States championship, involving teams from all over the country and, in addition to it, several minor tournaments, with teams from California, one with New York, one with teams located in Florida, other only clubs in Texas, and thus all the American States, with bigger and smaller teams, in case of the club where Gabriel stood out. He will be 18 on June 18, at that age he should be seen as an expectation for the future. Martinelli can play in the middle or the left hand side. Made many goals and gave assists. He’s still physically weak.”
5. Another player who Arsenal is linked to, is Exequiel Palacios. He is being touted around as an Aaron Ramsey replacement. How ready is he, compared to Martinelli?
Mauro: “Exequiel Palacios is older (21 years old) and experienced, with many games for the main team of River Plate, but I do not think he will be starting immediately when he arrives, he will probably need time for adaptation and improvement.”
My Verdict: The jury is still out on how good Edu can be as our technical director. The landscape at Arsenal is quite different to the Brazilian National team. For starters, there are no big egos at Arsenal. Brazil has Neymar. And sometimes, a level of giving in is required when the quality of player is such that he can almost single handedly win things. Edu’s knowledge of the South American market and the Brazilian setup across various levels, can open doors to young South American talent to Arsenal and as Raul Sanllehi would put it, we can ‘outsmart the market’. He is still just 41 years of age and has been part of Arsenal’s greatest ever era during his playing days. So he knows and identifies with the values of our club. Let’s also not forget Raul’s dealings with the South American market during his Barcelona days. I feel they could work well together and I, for one, am really excited to see some nice Samba Sauce back at Arsenal!