Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eduardo Finds Greener Pastures In Donetsk

Brazilian born Croatian striker Eduardo Da Silva has signed a 4 year contract with Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine for a fee believed to be around £6M.

Many had expected this transfer to occur because it became a fast spreading rumour as of Saturday when he missed the first preseason match against Barnet. He struggled to get into the team last season, making 10 minute cameos here and there before Arsene Wenger eventually decided to stop playing him altogether.

Some would argue that his departure came because Arsene Wenger forced him out of the team when he switched from the 4 4 2 formation to the 4 3 3. Some say he didn't belong out in a wide position and he didn't belong in the target man role up top either and his best position was as a secondary striker. It means that his natural position wasn't one afforded a role by this formation. I see it differently though.

Eduardo's days at Arsenal became numbered on February 23, 2008. That was the day he picked up this horror tackle (don't click if squeamish). How Martin Taylor was given only a 3 match ban for that is beyond me. Eduardo spent 18 months on the sidelines as a result of the injury he sustained. A whole issue was created out of the incident when members of the British press and Birmingham City supporters made Taylor into the victim and Eduardo the villain by saying Eduardo made a meal of the tackle and some even went as far as claiming it wasn't a foul. They claimed that Arsenal players are just too soft and that Martin Taylor was the real victim because of the emotional anguish he was put through. Never in my life have I heard such rubbish!

As I mentioned before, it took him 18 months to make a full return from the injury and it came against Cardiff City in the FA Cup. He scored that night and looked quite sharp. We all thought and hoped we got back that clinical striker who had a 23.5% conversion rate in front of goal but as the months rolled on they proved that it wasn't to be. His time ever since the broken leg was spent in and out of the team due to niggling injuries which arose as a result of the initial severe one. From there Eduardo became a mentally broken man. His conversation rate fell to 6.3% after and this made it clear that it was now the beginning of the end of his Arsenal career.

His demeanor on the pitch had changed. He no longer harried the ball in 50/50 challenges and in one particular game against Celtic last season he was so afraid to challenge for the ball in a one on one with Artur Buruc that he backed off, lost his balance, fell and won a penalty. The media had a field day with this, labeling him a diver and a cheat. These claims against him were both harsh and untrue as it happened due to the trauma from the incident in 2008. He saw himself reduced to a substitute role and when he did get the rare appearance he had ineffectual performances. Such performances frustrated Arsene Wenger who chose not to play him in the final 6 or so games of the season.

Credit should be given to Eduardo for his whole attitude, given what he's gone through. Not once did he give up hope on a return to the game and not once did he complain or show dissent in his body language because he wasn't being given playing time. He was always a class act and it's reflected in his parting message to the fans:
Before I start a new chapter in my career with Shakhtar Donetsk, I just wanted to send a message to all my friends at Arsenal.

The past few days have been very emotional for me. Although I am excited about the challenge ahead with my new club Shakhtar Donetsk, I am so sad to be leaving my home for the past three years – Arsenal Football Club.
Arsenal is a very special football club and I will miss so many people - my team mates, all the staff and of course, the wonderful Arsenal supporters.
I would just like to thank everyone for your support during my time at Arsenal. When I first came to England, I could not speak the language and knew nobody, but as soon as I arrived I was made to feel at home and part of this big family. Also, I want to say thank you to the Arsenal supporters  - you have been fantastic to me and always sung my name and I will never forget this. 
I had some very difficult times with my injury, but Arsenal was always there for me – the medical staff, the management, the players and the supporters. Thank you everybody.

Although I have now left the Club, Arsenal will always be in my heart. I will always look for the Arsenal results and of course, I wish Arsène Wenger and the great players at the Club well for next season and the future.
I can safely say that everyone associated with Arsenal Football Club - the players, management, and supporters all respect and thank Eduardo for all he's done in his 3 years at the club. He will definitely be missed by us all. We wish him and his family all the best in Ukraine and we wish him only the best in his future endeavours.

Now here's a very poignant video tribute to the former Arsenal number 9.

That's all for now. Until next time, take care.

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