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Cult Heroes: Edu at Arsenal

Fake passports, death in the family and winning a place amongst the greats. Fans often overlook Edu’s time at Arsenal but dig a little deeper and you will find a tale unparalleled in the world of football.

Edu is best remembered for being one of Arsene Wenger’s most reliable players during one of the clubs most successful periods in the Premier League. The former Brazilian international won two league titles with the Gunners, as well as two FA Cups as the central midfielder made over 120 appearances for the north London side in his five years in England.

Signed as an 18-year-old from Corinthians, Edu to Arsenal almost didn’t happen when after a deal was agreed between the clubs, it was discovered the then-teenager was in possession of a fake passport, putting the transfer off for months as the midfielder waited out for a legitimate European passport via his father’s Italian heritage.

His move to north London went from bad to worse for Edu, as just after he made the continental move his sister was tragically killed in a car crash, something that affected the young player’s form in his early months at Arsenal.

Despite the tragedy and failing to win over the fans at the start of his Arsenal career, Edu persisted and eventually won over not just the trust of Wenger but also the supporters, which came to a head in the 2003/04 season.

We all know the story, Wenger said his team could go the entire season undefeated, and they did just that, with Edu playing a major part in the famous Invincibles season, and it was easily his best season ever in north London.

The Brazilian player 30 league games and scored twice as Arsenal went the entire Premier League campaign undefeated in which Edu made his 100th appearance for the club as well as scoring in the legendary 5-1 win away to Inter Milan in the Champions League.

Edu’s rise from a Brazilian teenager who had suffered tragedy to a fan favourite with an iron mentality is one of the more underappreciated narratives from the Invincibles team, and his reported return to Arsenal as a technical director 14 years after he left north London will be something many Gunners fans welcome with open arms.

Arsenal fans, what is your favourite memory of Edu? Let us know!

Cult Heroes: Edu at Arsenal
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Article title: Cult Heroes: Edu at Arsenal

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