22 April, 2008

Obscure South American of the Week 10

Name – Joao Alves de Assis Silva a.k.a Jo

Affiliation – CSKA Moscow

Reason for coolness – He has dreadlocks and looks a bit like Snoop from 15 years ago.

Reason for obscurity – Like so many others featured in this column, the combination of an obscure club side and a small number of international appearances to date mean that he’s still an unknown quantity outside of Brazil and Russia.

You may have heard this week then that Manchester City are almost certain to splash out their highest ever transfer fee on some Brazilian kid with a girl’s name who plays in Russia. Standing at 6’2”, the 21-year-old certainly has the pace, power and technique to help solve City’s rapidly declining form since such a promising start to the season lined them up a potential top-4 finish. But £20million? Really?!

Jo was signed by the Russian club two years ago now from his native Corinthians, and after scoring two goals in his opening two games, became a quick favourite with the Moscow faithful. Having just played his 50th game for the club, Jo’s scoring record stands at an impressive 29, playing alongside fellow Brazilian and STT favourite Wagner Love. He attracted plenty of attention throughout Europe following some superb Champions League performances this season, most notably bagging a goal in each of the side’s clashes with defending Serie A champions Inter Milan. The second leg was a cracker so watch the full highlights again here, taking in Jo’s ridiculously sweet goal just before the minute mark:

Despite being a little old for a Brazilian debut at 20, he received his first call-up to the squad in May last year and made his international debut in friendly against Turkey, in June 2007. Following this however, Jo was then said to have the traditional bust up with national team coach Dunga, and reportedly joined the increasing ranks of those claiming they will not play for Brazil again until the 1994 World Cup winning captain steps down.

Earlier this year in March, Russian Newspaper Peterburgsky Metropoliten stated that Arsenal were reportedly looking to secure the services of the Brazilian wonder kid, possibly because, while he has the build of Adebayor, he is actually able to play football as well. Later that month, the Italian press then linked him with a move to AC Milan, with record European Cup holders looking to revitalize their aging team this summer, but as of today it seems that Manchester City is his destination of choice. With Elano and Geovanni already at Eastlands, the move to the freezing North would be softened somewhat already, but if rumours of a last minute swoop for Barcelona’s Ronaldinho are to be believed, then this could have played a major part in Jo’s decision-making process. Watch this space, as they say…

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