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South American Starlets - Ganso

Gonzalo Maldonado Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Full name- Paulo Henrique Chagas de Lima "Ganso"
Date of birth - 12 October 1989 (age 21)
Place of birth - Ananindeua, Pará, Brazil
Height - 1.84 m (6 ft 1⁄2 in)
Position - Attacking Midfielder

Recently wanted by PSG’s Qatarian investors, Paulo Henrique Ganso could be one of the next South Americans to make it to Europe. Already an international for Brazil, Ganso has created a name for himself with exceptional creativity and great passing.

The 21-year-old Brazilian made his debut for Santos in 2008, and has never left the first XI team since. He won the 2010 Campeonato Paulista with Santos on 2010 and has recently won the Copa Libertadores, playing a pivotal role in both tournaments. He and Neymar have been labeled as the future of Brazil, and new coach Mano Menezes has consequently played them throughout the Copa America along with other young players, in an attempt to rejuvenate the team. 

Having watched Ganso play at the Copa America, one of the first things i noticed is that he tends to disappear from games and the play just by-passes him entirely. To be fair on Ganso, he had just recovered from an injury and he has been put under a lot of pressure after being labeled as the next Kaka and heir to the no. 10 shirt. This might have had a negative effect on the player, who played for the first time as a first-team regular for Brazil at the Copa America. This didn’t see him taken off the field, namely because whenever he did show up he showed how talented he really is! A excellent example is his assist against Paraguay that earned Brazil a draw in the Copa America.

Injuries have always been a problem for the youngsters and the biggest one occurred occurred last year, when he had surgery on left knee ligaments which kept him off the field for about six months. 

At Santos, his level of play has been exceptional. A natural play-maker, Ganso has set up plenty of goals in addition to his 26 goals in 110 games. One could say he is a rather slow player, but the ball runs faster than the player. Pace is not one of his strengths, but the way in which he delivers the ‘killer passes’ is lethal to any defense. The midfield maestro knows how to pull the strings in midfield, and surrounded by key players such as Elano and Neymar, he can make his team score at any time. 

Is there place for him at United?
With the retirement of a legend like Paul Scholes, there is a spot available in the midfield. This summer, we have been linked with several midfielders, namely Wesley Sneijder, Luka Modric, Samir Nasri, and even Ganso! It was some weeks ago when we reportedly considered offering around £25m for the Brazilian. Like 90% of those stories, this was false. We are now being strongly linked with Sneijder (again!!), but would Ganso have a place at United? 

I’d say yes, considering his type of play is similar to Sneijder’s, although I don’t see him playing deeper. Choosing him or the Dutchman depends on what Sir Alex is looking for: if he is building a team towards the future then the definite answer is Ganso, but if he wants an experienced player, who has proven his talent at the highest level leading Inter to Champions League glory and his country to a World Cup Final, then the player is Sneijder. Plus considering the wealth of talented young midfielders at the club already, it seems more likely that Sir Alex would go for experience instead of youth.

In my opinion, we should not go for Ganso, because this would mean playing him in a 4-2-3-1 system and since we have 7 strikers in the squad it would be unreasonable to play with only one striker. Nevertheless, I expect the Brazilian playmaker to make it to Europe probably after the FIFA Club World Cup and dazzle us all with his skill and technique.

Player Summary:

Strengths: A natural game reader, his killer passes can cut through any defense. 

Weaknesses: Inconsistency, injury-prone.

Talent: 9/10

While Ganso might be one of the most talented players of his generation and has a horde of clubs vying to buy him, him moving to United seems unlikely. He's most likely to join an Italian team, plus his style of play seems more suited for the Italian game than English. Ganso has already been labelled "The next Kaka" and will have a huge task ahead of him if he's to ever emulate his Brazilian counterpart. But the early signs show that f he can stay fit, there's nothing stopping him from becoming one of the best play-makers in the world.


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