Talented, technically gifted and out of favour in Turin; will Diego be at Chelsea, Man United or Arsenal next season? Well, reports certainly suggest the Brazilian could be Premiership bound, so let’s take a peek into his past, present and future prospects.
Born in Sao Paulo, Diego’s football bud blossomed from an early age; joining FC Santos – former club of some kid called Pelé – at only 12-years-old. Developing through the youth system, he became part of a renowned side boasting the likes of Robinho, Elano and Alex. Again progressing at remarkable speed, in 2002 he made his first-team debut at 16-years-old, winning the domestic Campeonato Brasileiro championship during the same season.
Increasingly gaining a renowned reputation, in 2004 he made an €8million move to FC Porto, as a replacement for the Bareclona-bound Deco. He should have been the perfect successor, but his career hit a stagnating slab. Used sporadically, Diego couldn’t hold down a firs-team place as coach Co Adriaanse was apparently unimpressed with his defensive efforts and capabilities. However, given he was, and still is, largely an attacking outlet of great dexterity, deftness and productivity in the final third, this was probably unsurprising.
The subsequent €6million move to Werder Bremen saw these attacking instincts adequately utilised and indulged, thus Diego flourished. His successful spell in Germany ensured adoration from the local fans and is largely the reason he still holds much capital despite a poor season in Turin. Playing as part of an attacking formation, his time at Werder Bremen saw him established as the crux of a side which won a German League Cup, a German Cup and finished runners-up in the UEFA Cup. On a personal level he also excelled, winning a Bundesliga Player of the Season award, organised by popular magazine Kicker, after his first season, scoring 13 League goals during that campaing, 13 again in this second season and 12 in his last year. However, altogther his last season was actually his most porductive; hitting the 20 goal bench-mark in all competitions and offering a creative force in supplying many more.
This inevitably attracted the attention of Europe’s finest – including a cluster of English clubs – but the price-tag made many reluctant and in 2009 he eventually signed for Juventus for a deal totalling €24.5million.
However, after a relatively sub-standard season at Juventus generally (in terms of both the club and player) and the appointment of Gigi del Neri as the new manager – thought to have tactical requirements and a formation which would not facilitate him – Diego now looks set to exit the ‘Old Lady’ (oh aye, nudge nudge, wink wink, you dirty minded bunch).
His technical attributes, attacking talent and Brazilian flair are usefully accompanied by a fairly determined and robust presence and so, at still 25-years-old, he could potentially become a success in the Premiership.
Those most closely linked clubs are currently Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal.
Certainly, Ancelotti is thought to be most keen with Joe Cole, Michael Ballack and Deco all potentially on their way out. Man United were one of those clubs who showed previous interest and could certainly do with bolstering in the centre of midfield. Arsenal have also been mentioned in the event of Fabregas’ departure, and Man City have, inevitably, been mooted. He has explicitly stated that he would like to stay and fight for his place at Juve, however, unfortunately for him, the sentiment is not thought to be shared by the club and so he could well be joining one of the previously mentioned; thought to be in the region of €14-16million.
For anyone who has played Football Manager they will know his stats look impeccable but when I signed him on an old edition he was a right arsey article; upsetting team-morale, unable to settle in the area, what an utter waste of money…I can’t even flog him, poor management I’m sure. But, anyway, that’s not real (it’s far more important than real life) so hopefully he can revive his obvious abilities in the tangible, authentic world of the Premier League; but who for?
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