Archive for April 5th, 2007

Signing Suggestion #2: Luís Miguel Brito Garcia Monteiro

459 comments April 5th, 2007

Or just Miguel to his mates. It’s no secret that I feel we need a new right-back, and with Chelsea employing Lassana Diarra there last night, it seems we’re not the only ones struggling to fill one of football’s current problem positions. Just as England never seem to produce left-wingers, Europe never seems to produce many right-backs. Yet when Myles Palmer recently said, “Willy Sagnol of Bayern is the only right back in the Champions League!”, he was doing the aforementioned Miguel a disservice.

For me, it’s an area that Arsene himself doesn’t seem to feel he’s ever got quite right. He was lucky enough to inherit Lee Dixon, and when he retired Lauren was able to step into the breach. Despite some consistent performances from the Cameroon player (on his day he was the best right-back in the division), Arsene was prepared to listen to offers for him on more than one occasion. Indeed, he twice lined up a deal for Tunisian full-back Hatem Trabelsi, only for the transfers to break down at the last minute.

I’m not sure what about Lauren worried Arsene, but perhaps it was the knee injury that soon ended his Arsenal career. By this stage, the Trabelsi deal having faltered, Arsene had brought in Emmanuel Eboue from Beveren – a flashier player than Ralph, but one more prone to defensive lapses. With Lauren’s injury, Eboue prospered, going on to be one of the stars of last seasons Champions League run.

But this season, Eboue seems to have struggled. His diving and play-acting has reached new levels of stupidity, and on several occasions his poor positional sense has cost us a goal. In many ways, Justin Hoyte has faired better, but Eboue’s attacking prowess means he’s still the more promising of the pair.

What appeals about Miguel is his similarity to the now departed Lauren. He too began his career as a right-winger, and is subsequently both composed and comfortable on the ball. Shifting to defence whilst with Benfica, the Portugal right-back also moved to Spain, joining Valencia in 2005 for €8m, and has since cemented his place as a significant player on the European stage. He is taller and stronger than both Eboue and Hoyte, and has played in the World Cup and European Championships with great distinction. A regular in one of Spain’s meaner defences, he is dangerous going forward, and once scored six goals in a single season. With Trabelsi now languishing in Man City’s reserves, Miguel is the outstanding candidate to fill a position that has caused us discomfort all season. At 27, he could add experience to a young backline, but still provide us with his best years of service.

Call me crazy, but it just might work.

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