First of all, I need to apologize. I interviewed Tim back at the end of August and am just now getting this out. I feel I did a disservice to the time he was so kind to give me. But, better late than never, so I have transcribed our talk about new South Americans in the Bundesliga. Here it is.
The focus our our talk was to discuss new players from the transfer window, although we did discuss some other players as well. I will list the player and then his response.
Geromel at Cologne
He doesn’t feel that he will have much chance of making a dent in the World Cup squad for Brazil. Like many Brazilians plying their trade abroad, he is virtually unknown back home. This is especially the case for players that didn’t start off in the Brazilian league, and Geromel was developed in Portugal. With no constituency, its almost impossible to get a call up. That constituency usually is made through the fans and the media. Geromel is kind of like Alfonso Alves of Middlesboro, who came out of nowhere and was able to use a brilliant scoring record in Holland, including 7 in one game to force his way onto the side. But even then he and Dunga were roundly criticized when he was called up. Even if Geromel were to garner the attention of Dunga, it would not go over well with the fans and media.
Lucas Barrios at Dortmund
The Argentine brought over from Colo Colo of Chile has scored goals everywhere. However this has mostly been at smaller clubs. He’s fairly ungainly, which is possibly why it took him so long to get a chance at a big club like Colo Colo. But once again, he was able to score for them, so it will be interesting to see if he can transition to the Bundesliga. He’s a front-to-goal goalscorer, who likes to play off the last man. Not the best collective player, but he has a record that can’t be discounted when it comes to judging how he might do.
I asked about his quickness to pull out of a challenge. Tim felt that it’s just an adjustment, as it is with so many South Americans coming over to Europe, where they face defenders built like wardrobes.
Juan Arango of Gladbach
He’s a player Tim has always admired the Venezuelan with the big booming left foot. He’s been following him for over a decade, but he has been a little bit disappointing over the past two to three years. You expect a player to be better at 27 than 24, which hasn’t happened. However, he feels that he’s the type of player that tends to excel in Germany, where South American playmakers have always fared well because the midfield isn’t as squeezed as in England. but it’s also a natural progression from Germany’s recent transition from a three to four man backline, where the defenses are still playing too deep, to compensate for the lack of a sweeper.
Rafinha of Schalke
Tim has always rated the fullback very highly. He wrote about him as early as 2005 for the World Soccer Magazine. He has terrific lung power with quality end product. He’s an excellent attacking fullback. Being that he is behind Maicon and Daniel Alves, it could be a long time before he gets a chance with the World Cup squad. “Rafinha” sounds like “Hafinya” when pronounced by a Portuguese speaker.
Franco Zuculini of Hoffenheim
Excellent prospect! He’s a Diego Simione type figure as an all-around central midfielder: gets his foot in, wins the tacklel, is physically dynamic, can get into the opposing box and can score goals too. He’s a fiery character and a central midfielder of whom Argentina have a lot of hope for in the future at the senior level.
Maicosuel of Hoffenheim
He is a prospect who bounced around from club to club before exploding at Botafogo. He’s physically frail and Tim is interested to see how he adjusts to Germany. Even his good run at Botafogo was during the State Championships where he may have been flattered by the weak quality in the opposition. This run at the start of this year was the first time since he emerged three years ago that he actually delivered on his promise. While he has a lot of pace running with the ball, it’s a bit of a gamble by Hoffenheim as the player has never shown ability week-to-week against quality opposition.
Marcelo Moreno Martins or Werder Bremen
He’s Bolivian, but his father was a Brazilian player. He is known in Bolivia as Marcelo Martins. But when he came to Brazil to play he was called Marcelo Moreno (which is his first last name) due to the differences in culture between the Portuguese and Spanish speaking cultures. He scored a lot of goals for Cruzeiro. There’s a little bit of Gabriel Batistuta in him without the pace (although he wanted that comparison not to be overblown). He was squeezed out at Shaktar but he can play up top and can link the play. If he doesn’t get much time at Werder due to the third return of Claudio Pizarro, it could spell doom for his career as a player needs to be playing at this age.
Mineiro of Schalke
He’s the guy that scored the goal for Sao Paulo that beat Liverpool in 2005. He is honest as the day is long and will run all day. He makes up for a lack of technical ability with his honesty and application. Tim always thought he was a disaster pick-up for Scolari at Chelsea, as this free pickup more than anyone reinforced the idea a Portuguese clique at Stamford Bridge. But he could see why he would be wanted. He is a good bloke to have around and perhaps that was what Magath was looking for by picking him up cheap: a good influence in the dressing room.