If he does do well and goes on to become a world superstar, I hope people remember the gamble he took when he moved to Europe.
His signing didn’t make the biggest headlines in the summer, nor did it command the biggest transfer fee. However, I believe that the signing of Oscar for £25million from Internacional is the most curious of all the summer transfers. Chelsea have signed a good quality young player for a large fee that may prove to be a bargain, I can understand them making the transfer. What I can’t understand is why he would elect to move to Chelsea, as I will now explain.
I can hear the sound of your brain cells working away now. They’re thinking ‘money’. Well Brazilian football has changed over the past few years. Only as far back as the days of Robinho and Ronaldinho, Brazilian clubs manufactured players to be sold to Europe for a nice profit. Now, significant amounts of money can be found in the Brazilian league; the move of Ronaldinho back to Brazil is testament to that. This is also proved in the fact that Neymar, Lucas, Leandro and Ganso are still in Brazil; they’re playing international football and have yet to be snapped up by a European club. Only the top clubs can afford them; Manchester United were quoted over £30million for Lucas, a massive outlay for a player with no experience of European football. So you can also say that the top clubs don’t believe that the price is worth the gamble any more. If Neymar does make the move to Europe, you can expect the transfer to be upwards of £50million. How many clubs can realistically afford that? The clubs don’t need to sell, and the players don’t need to move because they’re being paid European wages in their home country. So the previous motivation that may have driven some players out of Brazil is now keeping them there. This is one reason why the Oscar transfer got me thinking. Asking why else he may want to move to Stamford Bridge, a club with little reputation for developing players, provides few answers. Considering he is taking a risk with his international place.
Oscar has nine caps to his name already. At the age where he is looking to make himself a regular in his national team, he makes a move to a foreign country. To a club where his first team place is under question. He finds himself challenging Hazard and Mata for a first team spot, a battle that he isn’t likely to win. Even after the game against Juventus, I remain doubtful that he will hold onto a regular first team spot. He seems set to spend some time on the edges of the first team, making substitute appearances and the odd cup game. If this continues for the whole of this season, his place in the national team will be under question. Understandably, if you pick a player to play for a top country like Brazil you expect him to be playing regular football. Even in England – a nation clearly a shade below Brazil’s standard – there’s an issue with players playing for England when they can’t make the team for their club side. As you might expect, Brazil isn’t exactly lacking in good players that can play his role. There is also the topic of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With less than two years to go until arguably the proudest moment of his career he may start to fade out of the reckoning for Brazil. It should not be underestimated how important the home World Cup is for the Brazilians, so with Oscar taking a gamble of this magnitude draws even more confusion as to why he might decide to make the move.
Kaka made the move from Brazil to Italy. Robinho went to Spain. Ronaldinho went to France. Ronaldo went to Holland. In short, players don’t make the move from Brazil directly to England. The only players to make the move in recent memory are Lucas Leiva and the da Silva twins. It’s fair to say that it took them a while to get accustomed to the English game. Fast, aggressive and competitive; the Premiership has a reputation for being hard to get used to. It would be too much to say that it has ruined careers, but the likes of Diego Forlan and Robinho have certainly suffered a setback in their careers from playing in the Premiership. For a young player still learning his trade, a step up of this size is a major risk. The referees will be much less forgiving than in Brazil, the defences will allow much less space to operate and the tackles will come in harder and faster. No doubt Oscar is throwing himself into the deep end; I admire him for it but question whether it really was a smart move.
As you can see, my intrigue is based around the fact that money isn’t too much of a motivator for Oscar, he’s gambling with his place in the Brazilian team and the European introduction he has selected is a baptism of fire. He must surely be aware of these facts, yet still went ahead with the move. A player showing a willingness to test himself is truly admirable, compared to his compatriot Hulk who made a move to the wealthy but average Zenit St Petersburg. I hope that Oscar does well; he isn’t sitting in his comfort zone and racking up the money and reviews playing against sub-standard opposition. If he does do well and goes on to become a world superstar, I hope people remember the gamble he took when he moved to Europe.