Maybe we can all agree on this one: Middle East sheikhs discovered football, and they must have loved it too. Especially when we involve Brazilian players in the mix.
Following Nilmar’s departure to Al-Rayyan at the same time he snubbed his previous team Internacional, it’s also rumoured that attacking midfielder Alex, who’s had a fantastic cameo in Russian side Spartak Moscow becoming a club idol and opening one more market for Brazilian players, seems to be pretty close to a Middle East move.
Alex hasn’t had the same success in Corinthians. He was brought to be a key player; his €5.6m transfer bid, one of (if not) the highest in Brazilian football history, denotes that. He made his career at Internacional in the same fashion as Nilmar and Rafael Sóbis, both owned by Middle East teams.
Qatarian club Al-Gharafa apparently offered €6.4m to get Alex services; a good profit, if you ignore his wages and consider he was brought last year just to see his value taking a huge drop. Also, he’s already 31 and seems to be on decline. Corinthians could’ve kept him around as a free kick specialist, which was what he’s been doing for the team, but Al-Gharafa showed interest and they didn’t put any blocks.
It’d be a very wise move, considering that Corinthians just brought Paolo Guerrero from HSV, who was introduced to the press today, and Juan Manuel Martínez from Vélez. Selling him would at least cover the money invested on Martínez. I guess that’s the difference when you have professionals running a club.