EXACTLY a week after the intense and exhausting 2011 Campeonato Brasileiro finally wound itself up, the Brazilian media finds itself in a frenzy of transfer gossip that seems to amplify with each passing day.
Traditionally, December is one of the two peak times of the calendar where clubs prepare themselves to have the assets poached by European and wealthy Arab clubs. Historically, the players emigrate seeking fortune and a better quality of life, the clubs use the money to plug a hole in their debt, whilst promoting another prospect from the ‘juniores’; and so the conveyor belt continues – until now.
Over the last two, even three, years there has been a dramatic change to this trend. As several journalists and bloggers have already explained, the Brazilian game is quickly catching up on the world’s most reputable leagues. There a few reasons for this:
- The improvement in the standard of the domestic football since the league changed its previous play-off style format in favour of the ‘European’ style of each team playing the other home and away.
- The game in Brazil is benefiting on two fronts from an economic upturn – the growth of the Brazilian currency and the European recession, allows players to stay in Brazil longer – Santos’ Neymar being the most prominent example – and attract those who are unsettled or homesick to return.
- The top-flight clubs, individually negotiated their own TV deal’s midway through last season. Flamengo and Corinthians will benefit greatly, each netting $65 million per year, whilst even at the lower end of the deal, the revenue earned from TV rights by Brazilian clubs dwarves what the other South American leagues (including Boca Juniors, River Plate) earn in comparison.
- There is now a global interest in Brazil, with the country hosting the 2014 World Cup – as a result, stadiums are being rebuilt and redeveloped across the land.
Every year there is strong and strong evidence that the Campeonato Brasileiro is one of the fastest improving leagues in the world in terms of quality, and the forthcoming January transfer window should highlight this once again.
THE MAJOR NAMES LINKED WITH A RETURN
Nilmar – The Villarreal striker is thought to be keen to return to his homeland in order to stake his claim for a place in the Brazilian national squad. Fluminense and São Paulo appear to the early front runners.
Vágner Love – Since originally moving to Europe, Love has already returned to Brazil for spells with Palmeiras and then Flamengo but was forced to return to Russia when financial restraints ruled out his preferred option of remaining at Fla. The 27-year-old headline grabber arrived back in Brazil last week and has made no secret of his desire to return to CSKA Moscow . A return to Flamengo beckons with Grêmio closely monitoring.
Jádson – Quickly whisked away to the faraway lands of Eastern Europe, Jadson’s six-year-spell at Shakter Donetsk is seemingly at end. With his wife expecting their first child, Jadson has reportedly declared an interest in joining São Paulo despite Liverpool and Arsenal heading the list of admirers. Significantly, at 28, Jadson could be playing in Brazil at his peak.
Alex– Frozen out at Chelsea since the arrival of Andres VillasBoas, Alex, 29, is speculated to have a host of top European clubs interested in taking him on but agent, Giuliano Bertolucci has already revealed in the Brazilian media that a return home is preferred, at an age well before his natural decline.