Date: 1st June 2012 at 5:45pm
Written by:

I have been watching him for a long time and I can assure you that Wellington Silva may have come from a favela but he is no Carlos Vela. He is no either.

Make no mistake about it; this lad is a footballing Houdini. He can squeeze between the most improbable gaps in defence and literally walk his way to the goal. Ask Norwich, or Dagenham and Redbridge where he scored two goals and set up another in a closed-door friendly.

His looks remind me of Chris Eubank, the mercurial boxer who terrorised the middleweight and super middleweight divisions. To weigh Silva, you have to pitch him against - and add a lot of Brazilian flair and deft arrogance you normally associate with the likes of Ronaldinho and Kaka. That is when Silva shines. He is quick, strong, versatile and elegantly tricky for defenders who revel in dishing out meaty tackles for apparently no reason. This is the quality you only find in Brazilian and Argentinean front and middle men, and some upcoming English talents such as The Ox.

Don’t take my word for it, check this out. You will understand what I mean when I say Houdini:

I am not selling Silva here. He is already an Arsenal asset. What I am trying to do is take the shield off so you could see him better. He is young, but to use that youthfulness to underestimate him is a big mistake. Remember what you said about The Ox when he came to The Emirates? ‘A waste of money!’ someone screamed. It did not take you long to change your mind did it? The Ox is the only Arsenal player ever to have caused to boo for substituting, after the player’s masterful performance against Manchester United. That’s what I am talking about here. Silva has a taste for debut goals and he does it with steadfastness; take Alcoyano for example.

In 2009 he was the youngest member of the Brazilian Under-17 World Cup team, one year younger than his team-mates. Between 2008 and 2009 he played 11 times for the team and scored five goals. He may have missed the 2012 Olympic team due to the limited playing opportunity that was given to him in Spain, but he is certainly not overlooked by the Brazil team.

He told

‘I am working hard to prove that I am able to play for Arsenal´s first team. That is my goal.’

Some have talked about his temperament (attitude, to put it bluntly). But any 17-18-year-old taken from his country to live in Frangistan would do the same; he wants playing time. If I were taken to Eldorado at that age I would want my fair share of time on ball, and of course I would miss the fish and chips too.

To his credit, temperament is a key ingredient that distinguishes determined and competent players from rubber ducks who are only good at floating (I am not going to name names but we have quite a few rubber ducks at Arsenal at the moment).

With that bit of temperament I put Wellington Silva in the category of Rooney and Tevez. This is no mean feat. And as dark clouds hover over The Emirates, it’s time to ditch flip-flops and bring in the Wellies.

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