Friday, 3 August 2007

Who Did We Just Sign? Elano/Manchester City

I'm sure many Manchester City fans were asking this question yesterday, as they completed the signing of 26 year old Brazilian midfielder Elano from Shakhtar Donetsk for £8million.

They may be pleased to know that he has already scored a couple of goals on English soil. He scored twice in Brazil's 3-0 friendly victory over Argentina at the Emirates Stadium last September.

Equally as pleasing will be Brazil coach Dunga's comments after that game that Elano is the key player for the way he wishes the national side to play. Although he didn't play every game in the recent Copa America, his performances when he did were adequant, including assisting one of their goals in the final.

He has usually been used on the right of midfield for Brazil, expected to do as much tracking back as he is attacking, whereas for Shakhtar Donetsk he was usually used further up the pitch in a distinct attacking-midfielder role.

He is more typical of a modern Brazilian footballer than the flair merchants from years past, although he does still possess an ability for rasping long range strikes. He is deceptively strong for his size, has a good engine, and the ability to pick a pass with both feet. Because of this, he should have no problens adapting to the English game.

It will be interesting to see how Sven Goran Eriksson intends to use him, because having signed two out and out wingers in Geovanni and Martin Petrov, it is hard to see how an attacking midfielder could also be incorporated into a 4-4-2 formation which has become Eriksson's trademark. It can only be assumed that Eriksson sees him as a standard central midfielder, but time will tell how he is incorporated into the team.

Just to give City fans a little taste of the man in action, here is a brief video of some of his goals for Shakhtar Donetsk.

Considering he is already acclimatised to cold weather (doesn't get much colder than a Ukrainian winter), he should have no problems in England, and looks set to be a big success. In a couple of years time, that £8million might look like very good business.

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