You would have expected Wenger to pull another one out of the bag. We all suspected that Wenger would have gone for a relatively unknown, youngish but hungry player.
He is a 24 year old Croatian international who having immigrated to Croatia from Brazil at the age of 15 has managed to assimilate the Croatian way of playing football, (strong, fast and direct) with his very apparent Brasilian innate skills of playing the beautiful game. And what a combination this is.
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A goal scoring record of 34 goals in 32 games this campaign (and 71 in 100 appearances for Dinamo) is very impressive albeit of course in the Croatian League. However, for those doubting Thomases, he has turned it on in the European stage with crucial goals for Croatia notably the goal against England in their 2-0 victory.
Now, that should tell you a lot about his quality as it was scored with his head going up against John Terry. He has scored 7 in 12 games for Croatia inclusive of a hat trick away against Israel.
But this does not tell you the whole story. He is a left footed player who knows where the goal posts are. He does not mess about. If there is a chance for a goal scoring opportunity he will go for it.
He is not one to try and play the ball about or dilly dally in front of goal as some of the Arsenal players have been doing this past season who played “pass the buck”. He can also score with his head and that will be a welcome addition to Arsenal’s armoury.
But he also seems to possess pace and he gets a lot of his goals from making deep runs against the defence by latching on to through passes from the midfielders.
Much like a young Freddie Ljumberg used to do. Cesc Fabregas will have a wonderful outlet for his outstanding ability to pick defence splitting passes.
Da Silva already looks to me as an Arsenal type of player.
And as he can play both as a central striker and a wide midfielder his signing adds a lot of flexibility in the squad.
It remains to be seen whether the fee rumoured to have been agreed, €24m (the same as the fee received for Henry) will in the end be justified or if indeed it is the correct one. Having presumably been identified by Wenger as just “what the doctor ordered” may however be an indication of the player’s ability and worth.
Ed: The BBC "understands" that the fee agreed is set at £7.5m and not £16.1m!
I believe that with Arsenal's record in the past it should indeed adopt a policy of full transparency with regard to transfers.
The news coming out of Auxerre seem to indicate that Bakiri Sagna will be the next signing at right back thus releasing Eboue to fill the other vacancy of the wide midfielder (Is Wenger about to abandon his search for a wide midfielder?).
And that will probably close Wenger’s shopping for this window.
By 1970's Gooner