Since the October announcement of a partnership between Tottenham Hotpsur and Brazilian side Internacional it has been widely reported that January will see the arrival, at White Hart Lane, of their promising young defensive midfielder, Sandro.
A price tag of around Â£16million has been banded about the gossip columns and fan forums, yet so far little is known of the Brazilian outside of his home country.Â I thought it timely, therefore, to write a quick profile on this esoteric young talent.
Sandro (full name Sandro Ranieri Guimaraes Cordeiro), 20, made his debut for Internacional last year, a substitute appearance in a 2-1 win over Atletico PR and though he has only made 34 appearances for the Porto Alegre side, he showed sufficient potential to persuade the club to offload experienced midfielder Edinho to Lecce.
Generally deployed at the base of a diamond-style midfield, his energetic performances have seen him likened to players such as Gennaro Gattuso.Â Tenacious in the tackle but also comfortable on the ball, he allows Internacional’s attack-minded midfield, with exciting players such as Giuliano and D’Alessandro (with whom Pompey fans will be familiar) to flourish.Â For such a young player, he appears to have an excellent understanding of the game and superb positional sense.Â Inter coach Tite had this to say of him, “Sandro has a lot of quality and good range of passing…he is strong defensively and very good in the air, he also has a good sense of anticipation…he understands what is necessary of him…”
His impressive club performances saw him named captain of the Brazilian U20 team that prevailed in the Sudamericano tournament at the beginning of the year and was pivotal in their run to the U20 World Cup Final in Egypt, where the Selecao lost out to Ghana.
With both Barcelona and Real Madrid expressing interest in the player, his profile has undoubtedly been raised, along with his price tag, however, with the announced link-up between the clubs, Spurs still look likely to capture the 20 year old.
The obligatory Youtube scouting has proved fairly fruitless, though I have been able to watch him turn out a number of times for Internacional and in the U20 tournaments. From what I have seen he looks an exceptional player.Â With his pace, fierce tackling and eye for a pass he could prove the ideal foil for Wilson Palacios or Tom Huddlestone in the centre of the midfield.
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Â£16 million may be a lot of money for a 20 year old, as yet unproven in a top league, but if he comes close to matching Internacional old boy (and current national coach), Dunga, itÂ will seem a bargain.
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By Robert Ainley