Archive for April 12th, 2007

Signing Suggestion #3: Ricardo Quaresma

561 comments April 12th, 2007

Ricardo QuaresmaFor all his many sins, Arsenal have missed a player like Jose Reyes this season – someone who can play wide, beat his man and get in a cross, or cut inside and go for goal.  Like Reyes, Ricardo Quaresma is a gypsy dribbler with an eye for the net.  And like Reyes, the only question would be whether or not this talented player can cut it in the big time.

Quaresma is now 23.  I first saw him played aged just 16, in the Toulon Youth Tournament.  He was one of two young players coming through at Sporting Lisbon who were starring for an eye-catching Portugal side.  The other’s name was Cristiano Ronaldo.

At this stage, Quaresma appeared to be the better player.  In the years since, however, Ronaldo’s physical development has allowed him to overtake his former team-mate.  Quaresma, meanwhile, has had to rely on pace, skill, and an extraordinary right foot.

In 2003, the big move the winger had been waiting for arrived.  €6m + Fabio Rochemback took him to Barcelona, as one of the star signings to commemorate Joan Laporta’s inaugural season.  However, despite a debut goal in a friendly against Milan, Quaresma struggled to break into the side.  He fell out with coach Rijkaard, suffered with ankle and foot problems, and ended up starting just ten games and scoring only one goal.

When Barca came after Porto’s Deco, Quaresma jumped at the chance to be included as part of the deal.  And it is at Porto that he has finally started to fulfill his potential – a goal at Stamford Bridge the highlight of an impressive Champions League campaign.

Last season at Porto, his goal record was slightly better than one in six.  This year, it’s closer to one in three.  He has broken into Phil Scolari’s Portugal set-up with an absolute wonder goal against Belgium, and is reportedly a target for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

In a season in which his friend Ronaldo has lit up the English Premiership, Arsenal have lacked such directness and flair.  Arsene Wenger is reportedly a master of assessing player’s personalities – if he believes that Quaresma can be more than simply a flashy fish in a small pond, then he must be on our transfer radar this summer.

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