Santos not a success from the supermarket sweep

Posted by Sam Limbert

David Price/Getty ImagesAndre Santos departs Arsenal after just two underwhelming seasons.

At the end of August 2011, Arsenal were reeling from an utterly humiliating 8-2 defeat against Manchester United. Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri had just left the club and some emergency remedial work was desperately needed. Arsene Wenger went on an uncharacteristic trolley dash as he signed five players in two days in the last moments of the transfer window.

Of the five, two are now integral parts of the team. Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta have undoubtedly been major successes and are among the first names on the team sheet. In the other three, Yossi Benayoun was only at the club for a year on loan but still gave some handy contributions, while Park Ju-Young's signing still mystifies many. The other player of the infamous five who were brought in during the panic at the end of the transfer market was Brazilian left back Andre Santos.

At the time, Santos had recently been in the Brazilian national team, and came with some great YouTube compilations of some long-range goals. After he arrived, I wrote this for ESPN about the signing of Santos: "He excites me as a signing. Having been mentored by Roberto Carlos while playing in Turkey, I think we could have ourselves a great bargain in Santos. He's got 22 international caps with Brazil and has Champions League experience. Initially, he could be targeted by opposition teams to see what he's made of, but I think he'll cope well."

- Andre Santos joins Flamengo

Yes, I'm eating rather a lot of humble pie. Despite a few crucial goals away at Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion in 2011-12, Santos' career at Arsenal has been fairly disastrous. It wasn't for the want of trying or because he had a poor attitude toward playing for the club. He came across as a popular member of the team and someone who was great for the team spirit. However, the last person to do that before Santos was Emmanuel Eboue. They both had a great personality off the pitch, but ultimately weren't too much use on it.

The moment that unfortunately will define Santos' Arsenal career for many fans was the way he chased after Robin van Persie against Manchester United at halftime during a match last season to get his shirt off of him. Along with some interesting attempts to tackle players and some wayward passing, fans won't have many fond memories of Santos. Every player who joined in the trolley dash in 2011 was risky because of the quick nature of the signings, and Santos was a risk that didn't pay off. Bringing in Nacho Monreal in January confirmed that, as it signaled that the Brazilian was never going to get back into the starting XI.

The news that Santos has completed a transfer to Flamengo back in the Brazilian League isn't a surprise. It's the latest departure in a summer of sales at Arsenal. Of the players regularly considered as "deadwood" by many fans, only Marouane Chamakh, Park and Nicklas Bendtner are left on the club's books (despite the club's best efforts to sell the Danish striker). While fans wait patiently for the much-rumoured arrivals, the club are efficiently clearing space in the squad and on the wage bill for the new players. The next step is for Arsenal to finally make one of those expected signings.

If Arsenal can get those arrivals sorted before the season starts, we shouldn't see another risky supermarket sweep that brings the potential of signing another Andre Santos.


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