Edu comes to Arsenal. Why this is the moment when everything happens

By Tony Attwood

It’s now become quite a famous tale: Edu joined us in 2000, but never arrived because, (so the story goes) he had a fake passport.   Which was very odd, since the fake was said to be Portuguese, and Edu had no link with Portugal other than speaking a Brazilian version of the lingo.  And besides he qualified for an EU passport because of having Italian grandparents.    Was that a true story about the fake passport, or was it that Edu  was an innocent victim of a dupe, or was it (heaven forbid!) just another story that some deadbeat scribbler made up.

Certainly the tale as written makes Edu look pretty dumb – like a real stupid footballer who is told by his agent, “here, use this passport, it’s my mate’s but I’ve stuck your picture over the top of his.  Don’t worry about it, everyone does it these days.  Those guys at London are so dumb – they won’t know – they think all foreigners are just, well, foreign, and they won’t have anyone at the airport speaking anything but English.”

So the basic story of the fake passport is on Edu’s Wiki page along with the tell tale sign: [citation needed] And when you see that on a Wiki page, then it does tell you something.  If one of the infinite number of typing monkeys who run the Wiki football pages can’t find a source, but leaves the story up, it tells you that the story is not only possibly untrue, but has been placed and ok’d by someone who quite likes anti-Arsenal stories.

Therefore let us try and uncover a bit of the damage with some real stuff about the guy.  He first emerged outside of being a player by becoming sporting director of Corinthians. No prelims – just a straight leap up.  And that Corinthians knew what they were doing is shown by the fact that the club then won the Copa  Libertadores for the first time, which in South American terms is just about as big as it gets.

Indeed so highly regarded did he become, he was then poached by the Brazilian national team to do the same job for them.

So what did he do in these jobs that got everyone so very, very impressed?

First, it seems that takes an overview of recruitment – so not just looking for guys who are very good on the pitch, but guys who will fit into the style of play and approach of the team, who will fit in with the team, and complement the players already in place. Which probably includes disciplinary issues, gambling habits, family issues and the like.

Second, he has the job of taking that style and approach to football and making sure that it is replicated all the way through the club or country’s team. Thus the culture and style of play goes from the youth teams to the first team and no one steps out of that culture.   And this is where Arsenal background comes in handy.  He was, after all, an Invincible.

As Raul Sanllehi said recently, “The technical director has to bring the sporting philosophy of the club. The head coach is more the short-term position. The technical director has to safeguard the medium and the long-term vision of the club.”

And here is one interesting thought.  Because of his success from the very start, while Edu was at Corinthians he was given a level of financial support to bring in players that no previous director of football (or similar position) at Corinthians has ever had.   He also built up a reputation for discovering unknown players from little known teams.   Does that remind you of anyone?   A man you’ve never heard of coming in from a club you’ve also probably not heard of?

What’s more a lot of Corinthian players were signed for modest fees and sold on for big profits – which may not be what Arsenal supporters want to hear (for after all that was another Wenger trait during the austerity years) but it might well be exactly what the owner is looking for.   Gil, Fabian Balbuena and Felipe all come into this mould.

Now quite a few people might be able to claim this sort of buy and move on approach, but what Edu did at the same time, was to develop the academy at Corinthians’.

So this was the background of Edu when the national team came knocking at the door, and the meteoric rise of the player turned administrator continued.

With the national team Edu joined a former manager of Corinthians, Tite.   And that partnership reached near legendary status as the two men seemed to have the perfect working relationship.  Speaking of this Edu said, “Tite thinks about the essence of it, which is on the field, and I think what is essential to it. I do the work he does not like with his head. We decided everything together. We joked about it. There are times when he is the boss. In others, I am the boss.”   As a result Brazil have headed back towards the top in world football.

And so gradually (very gradually) some of the more serious newspapers are starting to realise just how important this move of bringing Edu to Arsenal could be, not just season by season, but in the longer term, shaping the club in a way that not even a profit-loving mercenary owner might be able to undermine.

It is a huge range of responsibility that he is taking on, ensuring that academy players emerge fully integrated into the Arsenal way of playing and ready to step into the first team as seamlessly as possible.

Plus both Edu and Emery have one thing in common: they both study players in total and absolute depth, making it their job to know everything possible about them, physically and mentally.

As Raul Sanllehi put it, “The technical director has to bring the sporting philosophy of the club,” he said. “The head coach is more the short-term position. The technical director has to safeguard the medium and the long-term vision of the club.

“That person needs to be in very close contact with the head coach, and have the total trust of the head coach, know the first team inside out, know what’s coming from the academy. In a particular position, if he knows a big talent is coming from the academy, he can already prepare the head coach and prepare that path.

“And also he needs to take care of the market, of the scouting. He needs to coordinate that and have the perfect knowledge. First team, weaknesses and strengths, what’s coming from the academy and what’s coming from the outside.”

This could turn out to be rather good.

10 Replies to “Edu comes to Arsenal. Why this is the moment when everything happens”

  1. Sounds interesting Tony. Good tidings now awaits. Hopes he can replicate what he did in Corinthians.

    Welcome Edu of Brazil

  2. Thanks for this one. As someone who has been cynical, bordering on a little hostile to a rash of these boardroom appointments and titles in the past, I can , these days, with the departure of wengers influence, see how we need such a man at the club. Especially a man of the club.The owners, CEOs etc by their own admission just don’t have these qualities needed, Emery won’t touch wengers longevity, Sven sounded good, but wanted over promotion, we need a constant.
    Things have changed a lot, I believe there remains residual damage from a Wenger / Gazidis power struggle ( no prizes for who I would side with on that one if it did happen! ). There are players on big wages who clearly don’t fit Emerys style , and perhaps the style of the club going forward.
    Of course, like Emery, Edu needs time and probably cold hard cash. It isn’t all going to happen this season.
    Might look to some as we are in a mess, to me, we are just in an inevitable adjustment, in terms of finances, leadership and style. The Kos situation is sad, but will ultimately just prove a minor distraction on a new path. We might have trouble recruiting this summer, but can only look forward to seeing a few exciting youngsters, supplemented by the more experienced.
    Wenger has gone, the petro dollar teams, and a few just behind us can spend at will. Patience needed, but good luck to the potentially exciting appointment that is Edu, just hope he sticks around for a while.
    Maybe, we will be on the up when FFP finally really kicks in, and some others are on the way down.

  3. It sounds like that edu is actually the manager in the usual sense of the term especially as it was applied to aw. He had control over everything and that seems to be what edu is here to do.

    I see that the head coach is a short term position, which relegates ue to a very minor role.

    If edu is supposed to preserve the arsenal way of playing, is that the exciting aw style or the negative uninteresting, hit them on the break, ue style?

  4. We need to get Zaha.. We need to get rid of Xhaka.
    If those 2 things can happen this summer, We will qualify for the champions league.

  5. Akan, Zaha would be a useful player for us, but not at the sort of price Palace are quoting. They are unlikely to relent, on this type of price, he has a long contract, and they have no need to sell. His numbers do not justify 80-120m by any stretch. We will have to go elsewhere, or develop our own.
    As for Xaka, he is more likely to be made skipper than sold. Decent enough player, but can be played out of position, and exposed too often by some of our play, especially when we end up chasing games. Tactical tweaks and more support would help him no end.

  6. Thanks Tony. Very interesting read.

    Did not know of Edu’s background as sporting director for club and country so thanks for giving me a idea of what he has done and why we were so hot on him.

    If what you say is accurate then yeah this is quite exciting and hopefully the club are working to a well laid plan and are still innovative and creative in their approach to achieving success for the club.

  7. Maybe the long game is getting the Brazil Manager he has worked with in to replace Bruce Rioja

  8. IMTERESTING findings! Now I understand why it’s been all quiet on the transfer front save for some really young footballers who may or may not feature this season.
    Goes to show that the owner and management know what they are about. Looking forward to positive developments.

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