Will the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool be looking to add some Latin Flair to their squad this window?


Figures discovered back in August 2011 as the Premier League kicked off and Bolton, scoring 4 past a “capitulated” QPR, fired their way to the top of the league, a sure sign that the only way was down, revealed that out of the 1465 players that could’ve been picked for their respective Premier League clubs that weekend, only 42% of them are English. Amongst the other 849.7 players, we’ll presume the 0.7 is Carlos Tevez – and not just because he’s made less of a contribution than everyone else, but because he’s 5’6 – there are 39 South Americans, including: Brazil’s contribution of 14, Argentina’s of 13 and Uruguay’s offering of 3. (How thankful we are of our Uruguayan Premier League stars.)

However, despite the samba, latin flair and creativity that the successful footballing continent of South America endears us with, there remains the small disconcerting voice of some that South Americans are ill-fitted to the English style of play and unquestionably, the voice has valid examples of such players failing to adjust to the hustle and bustle of England’s top flight. Hernan Crespo did his best to justify the shortcomings of South Americans in England, when he joined Chelsea in 2003, explaining that he has to, “go to the bakers, go shopping, have the electrician coming round, get the car serviced, and for all these things,” he continues, “I have to go and speak in English.”  For Crespo, who went on to spend three of the next five years of his Chelsea contract in Italy playing for Inter and AC Milan, the defining problem was the conflicting ethos of the Latin and the Anglo-Saxons, “We’re Latin, and all through our lives we’re used to someone giving us a hand. But that’s not the Anglo-Saxon way. The cultures are different.”

Juan, Roma’s 32-year old Brazilian centre back, seemingly hit the nail on the head when it came to justifying their on-the-pitch performances though, rather than their often short-lived stays in England, “technically, the Europeans are better than the Brazilians in terms of passing, shooting, heading. But we have more ability, with an unmatched capacity to dribble.” For witnesses of David Luiz this season, Juan’s compatriot, the above statement will ring true to the tune of John “Portsmouth Football Club” Westwood vigorously shaking bells: the eccentric former Benfica centre-back often makes marauding runs from defence, from his position alongside an ever more frustrated John Terry, pinging the ball from one foot to another with the aesthetic grace more befitting of a forward; however, when he comes up against a technical striker himself, whilst defending, he has the composure of a player “controlled by a 10-year-old in the crowd on a Playstation.”

It does indeed seem that the players that excel in the English top-flight from the flourishing footballing continent that currently boasts Neymar, Ganso and Damiao to name but a few Brazilians, are the ones that are prepared to sacrifice a little flair for a little rigidity and those that put their bodies on the line for the cause by: flying into tackles, running themselves into the ground and battling for the ball right until the final whistle. I’m talking of Tottenham’s newfound cult hero Sandro, The Kop’s tireless Luis Suarez and their equally valued Lucas Leiva. The evidence for the above claim is there too: whilst one Da Silva twin has made 20 Premier League appearances for Manchester United since signing as a 17-year old in 2008, the other has made over double that amount. Fabio is a left-back and Rafael is a right-back and it is Gary Neville’s successor that is commanding a starting spot in the Manchester United team when fully fit and it is no surprise: since joining the Red Devils the attacking and “fearless” right-back has tapered his game to suit the Premier League and willingly cut out the constant flamboyancy that his twin hasn’t, reducing the times that he’ll overlap his right midfielder and arrive in the opposition’s penalty box. Fabio however, continues to stick to his guns and is very much an attacking left back, operating more as a wing-back when he does play.

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Budding Football journalist who blogs at daily as well as writing here for ThisisFutbol and on the England fan's page. Outside of writing is more football. I work at Southampton F.C and I manage a men's football team on Saturdays.