According to the Daily Mirror, Arsenal have signed Bolivian young starlet Samuel Galindo, but as it has not been confirmed by Arsenal’s official website, I will hold back on assuming that. If Galindo does in fact become an Arsenal player, what can Gunners fans expect?
First things, Galindo is an attacking midfield player who can play just off the striker, but he is no conventional midfielder. At 17 years old, he is already 6ft 3, and it has led many already to compare him to Patrick Vieira for both his height and his commanding presence on the ball.
Galindo has already broken into the team for his Bolivian side Real America and was the star performer for Bolivia’s Under 17s at the South American Championships last year. He was named in the team of the tournament in which an un-fancied Bolivia side made it all the way to the Quarter finals beating teams like Paraguay and Ecuador on the way. The young midfielder has a wide range of passing but his height also allows him to be very imposing in the opposition penalty area. Combined with his ball distribution, both his aerial ability and his composure in front of goal make him a very special talent for a 17 year old attacking midfield player.
Galindo has subsequently become captain of the Bolivian Under 20s side and after his successes last May in the Under 17 Championships, he was invited, along with fellow youngsters Gilbert Alvarez and Leonel Justiniano by Bolivia coach Erwin Sanchez to train with the senior side before the World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela and Chile in June. It will surely not be long before Galindo earns his first cap for Bolivia.
Such high profile performances in youth tournaments also attracted interest from Europe. Manchester City, Newcastle, Wigan, Spartak Moscow and Fiorentina were all said to be vying for his signature, but it became apparent that Everton were the front runners. Only last month, Galindo confirmed he would be travelling to England to train on Merseyside:
I have all my paperwork in order to travel to England. First, I will undergo the medical examination and then proceed to the contract signing so I’m travelling with my dad. I hope not to waste this opportunity to prove to everyone that there are good players in Bolivia.
It seems as if though, Arsenal have snatched his signature and taken the player from under the nose of David Moyes. The stumbling block for any move for Galindo though, is his work permit. As he is not played any games for Bolivia, he doesn’t qualify under the current rules to play in this country. Arsenal can appeal on the grounds that he is a ‘special talent’ but the Gunners may have to loan the player straight out to a La Liga club. This was the speculation in the Daily Mirror report yesterday. He is however certainly a player to look out for in the coming years and with his height and passing range, the physicality and speed of the Premier League should be no problem for this young Bolivian star.