Tottenham’s worst kept secret finally reaches fruition

Tottenham Hotspur have this week secured the signing of Sandro Ranieri Guimares Cordiero, only the third Brazilian player to have joined the club. However, Spurs will hope that Sandro fairs better than his countrymen Rodrigo Defendi and Gilberto, who it is fair to say, were not exactly smash hits at White Hart Lane.

The deal for the player is believed to be worth £6.5million – though reports in Brazil claim the fee could be as high as £9m – and is subject to Sandro being granted a work permit. Sandro’s solitary cap for Brazil means he does not automatically qualify for a permit, and so Spurs will argue his case before a panel to insure his registration.

The quest for Sandro’s signature has been fraught with difficulty, as Harry Redknapp chased the player as early as last August, after Spurs and Internacional signed a strategic pact. However, the move was scuppered by permit issues, and the third party ownership of the player in Brazil. However, both Internacional and Tottenham confirmed the transfer on their respective club websites earlier this week, and after competing for Inter in their Copa Libertadores campaign this summer, Sandro should finally be with the club in mid-August.

Sandro captained Brazil’s Under-20 team to the 2009 South American Youth Championship, whilst earning a cap for the senior national side in a South American World Cup Qualifier against Chile last September. The 6ft 1in midfielder, who turned 21 in March, is a combative central midfield player, noted for his love of tackling and stamina on the pitch. To date, Sandro has made 73 appearances for Internacional, scoring three times and helping them to a second-place finish in Campeonato Brasileiro Série A last season.

Redknapp spoke of Sandro’s transfer to the media on Tuesday this week, before the move was made official by both clubs:

“He’s an outstanding young player… He is strong. He looks a very, very good player so I am looking forward to getting him here.”

Sandro is genuinely very highly rated in Brazil, and is expected by many to become a future regular for his country in the future. One of the primary concerns in Brazil is that Sandro will not see enough football at White Hart Lane, and this could stunt his development. However, the sizeable transfer fee suggests that Harry Redknapp is looking for an immediate impact from the player, rather than earmarking the player as one for the future.

Whilst it is easy to get carried away, a note of warning must be heeded. Although Sandro is a young Brazilian international with a good reputation in his domestic league, Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva was the former captain of the Brazilian Under-20 team, also leading the team to victory in the South American Youth Championship, only two years before Sandro. Therefore, whilst Lucas has proven to be an able player in the Premier League, Tottenham fans need to approach the signing with caution.

There are a string of positives surrounding the signing of Sandro however. Whilst Tottenham have a tough tackling midfielder in Wilson Palacios, Spurs have been fortunate that the player has been largely injury free since joining the club in January 2009. Certainly, Tottenham’s meteoric rise under Harry Redknapp has been significantly assisted by the Honduran. However, in Sandro, Tottenham will have two combative, physical, ball winning midfielders equipped with strength and stamina. Therefore, whilst Palacios’ will most probably be a mainstay of the Tottenham side again next season, the team will avoid the danger of becoming to reliant on the player. Certainly, the prospect of facing Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal without the Honduran this season, with only Jenas and Huddlestone as cover, is a worrying prospect.

Whilst Tottenham have always been able to play football, the signing of Sandro will allow Spurs to compete physically with even quickest and strongest in the league, and when necessary, if the team needs to sure up the midfield, the 6ft 1in Brazilian sounds like he will be able to mix it with the best. At its root however, the fact that the club has spent somewhere between £6.5 – 9 million on a young player shows their ambition, and not resting on its laurels after what has so far been an excellent season for the club.

Sandro’s signing should be met with a sense of optimism, although until the boy starts appearing week in, week out, it is impossible to know how good or bad he will be. However, one thing remains certain… he has to be better than Defendi and Gilberto.

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