Luis Gustavo

Many changes in Dunga’s first Brazil call-ups since World Cup disaster

7 Comments

My, how things have changed.

Brazil’s two listless losses to end their home World Cup outside of the Top Three — including that 7-1 shellacking from Germany — have a slew of new names on manager Dunga’s first list of call-ups.

Dani Alves, Marcelo and Fred are among 10 World Cup starters who won’t be in the fold for U.S.-hosted friendlies against Ecuador and Colombia next month.

[ MORE: Back to the future, as Dunga confirmed as manager ]

Julio Cesar, Dante and Paulinho also missed the list, as did the injured Thiago Silva. In all, 13 roster players missed the cut.

So who remains? Neymar — who will face the man who ended his World Cup in Juan Zuniga — David Luiz and Oscar. Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho is among the new names on the list.

From the Associated Press:

“History shows that you can’t start from scratch, it’s important to keep some of the previous structure in place,” Dunga said. “Slowly we will be giving opportunities to the younger players. It’s not because of one bad result that everything was wrong.”

Dunga said other World Cup players may be back in the future.

“It’s important that all players know that this is just the beginning of our work,” the coach said. “It doesn’t mean that the players not in this list won’t have another chance with the national team. The doors will remain open to all Brazilian players.”

Full Brazil roster

Goalkeepers: Jefferson (Botafogo), Rafael (Napoli)

Defenders: Maicon (AS Roma), Alex Sandro (Porto), Danilo (Porto), Filipe Luis (Chelsea), David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Gil (Corinthians), Mirando (Atletico Madrid).

Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Elias (Corinthians), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Ramires (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Oscar (Chelsea), Ricardo Goulart (Cruzeiro).

Forwards: Everton Ribeiro (Cruzeiro), Hulk (Zenit), Neymar (Barcelona), Diego Tardelli (Atletico Mineiro).

Arsenal lose out on another transfer target, as Luiz Gustavo joins Wolfsburg

4 Comments

What a bad summer it has been for Arsene Wenger in the transfer market.

Today the Gunners lost out on yet another potential signing, as Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo signed for Bundesliga side Wolfsburg from Bayern Munich on a five-year deal.

The holding midfielder was said to be a long-term target for both Arsenal and Chelsea, but he has decided to stay in Germany rather than heading to the PL.

Gustavo has been searching for regular soccer all summer, despite several good seasons for Bayern Munich. New manager Pep Guardiola has signed a plethora of new midfielders and the combative 26-year-old wasn’t part of his plans.

Many believed Gustavo would be the perfect foil to Jack Wilshere in Arsenal’s engine room, with Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey hit and miss at best over the past two seasons.

(MORE: Asene Wenger hears your transfer concerns, and he doesn’t care)

So, Gustavo has decided to stay in the Bundesliga. Maybe he wanted to stay in a league familiar to him heading into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil? Or maybe, Arsenal just aren’t the attractive proposition they once were.

No doubt Wenger has a hugely talented squad at his disposal. But any potential signing will want to win trophies and challenge for titles. Once again this season, the Gunners may flatter to deceive on both counts.

The North London side have been tracking Luis Suárez but don’t look like landing the Uruguayan unless Liverpool have a huge change of heart. Earlier in the summer Gonzalo Higuain turned down the chance to sign and instead went to Napoli and rumors of Wayne Rooney turning down a move to Arsenal have also surfaced.

Arsenal have aimed big. But they’re striking out every single time. Where do they go from here?

To be honest, unless a big name attacking player becomes available, they may as well just stick with what they have. Olivier Giroud is a decent target man and showed in spells that he can terrorize opposition defenses. While Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are three of England’s brightest young talents.

It isn’t all bad news.

But what is the point of Wenger unleashing his considerable war chest )so we’re told) to land a player that won’t make a difference? You can understand if the Higuain deal came off and the Gunners spent $50 million. He is pure class and would add 20-25 goals per season. But why spend $15-20 million on a player who may do an okay job.

At this point their squad should stay the same.

They’ve got time to spend if they want but don’t forget Arsenal were unbeaten in their final 10 games last season, winning eight of them. If they could add one more top quality player, it will make the world of difference. If they don’t, it’s not the end of the world.

Either way, it’s been a frustrating summer for Wenger and Arsenal’s fans.

Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: David Luiz to Bayern, Gustavo to Chelsea

Leave a comment

Chelsea’s Brazilian defender David Luiz, 26, is Pep Guardiola’s No.1 defensive target this summer, according to reports. Chelsea’s flamboyant center back excelled last season in the Premier League, but with José Mourinho thought to prefer John Terry and Gary Cahill in central defense, Bayern could swoop in to seal a $60 million deal. A huge fans favorite at Stamford Bridge, Luiz would be a big loss to Chelsea with his stunning goals and eccentric risk taking. Used in central midfield during the second half of last season, Luiz displayed his versatility and his good form continued into the Confederations Cup. But with the World Cup in his home country coming up at the end of this season, he’ll want to be playing regularly to rubber stamp his spot in Brazil’s starting lineup.

While Chelsea could tie in a deal for Brazilian midfielder Luis Gustavo if Luiz does make a switch to the Bundesliga. Bayern’s holding midfielder is apparently available for $22 million and Mourinho could do further business with Guardiola before the summer is out. Gustavo could be left on the bench after Bayern signed Thiago Alcantara and the 26-year-old Brazilian could slot in to Chelsea’s midfield seamlessly. John Obi Mikel was questioned at times last year, and a true holding midfielder in Gustavo would be exactly what Mourinho needs to balance out the vast attacking talents at his disposal.

Barcelona’s Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez could be heading to Napoli, as the La Liga invasion continues at the Stadio Sao Paolo. Sanchez has scored 26 goals in 87 games since joining Barca from Udinese back in 2011, but he’s failed to live up to the hype he created after stirring displays at the 2010 World Cup. Sanchez would strengthen Napoli further, as Higuain and Marek Hamsik will have another partner in crime. With Neymar coming in at Barca, Sanchez could become a bit-part player at the Camp Nou. Time to move back to Italy?

Elsewhere, Lorenzo Melgarejo could join Liverpool on a season-long loan deal, as Benfica’s left back could provide cover and competition for incumbent Jose Enrique. The 22-year-old Paraguayan defender wants to move to the Premier League and after being ever present for the Portuguese side last term, he starred in the Europa League final defeat to Chelsea. The Reds do need some cover at left back, with Glen Johnson having to switch to the left when Enrique was injured last season. Brendan Rodgers is keen for cheap but hungry reinforcements, and Melgarejo could be a perfect fit for a back up role.

Queens Park Rangers are preparing for an immediate return to the Premier League and aim to bring in Peter Crouch from Stoke City. Crouch has worked with Redknapp at Southampton, Portsmouth and Tottenham and Redknapp will turn to the former England international after losing out on Gary Hooper who signed for Norwich instead. Crouch, 32, may not fit into Mark Hughes plans at the Britannia and a move back to QPR, where he scored 10 goals in 42 games in 2000-2001, will appeal to the lanky forward.

With Arsenal’s defense ailing, it could be time to make a purchase

Leave a comment

The Premier League season has yet to start and the injuries are already lining up for Arsenal.

The most recent victim is center-back Laurent Koscielny, who limped out of training today a mere one day after injury ruled goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny out of Monday night’s friendly in Nagoya.

Koscielny left Sunday’s training with what appeared to be a right ankle problem. While Arsenal have not revealed the severity of Koscielny’s injury, it does not appear to be one with long term effects. Nevertheless, the French international is expected to join Szczesny on the sidelines for tomorrow night’s match.

With Koscielny’s injury, Arsenal are left with only one experienced center-back in Per Mertesacker. Thomas Vermaelen is out for up to three months with a back injury while Johan Djourou has been sent to Hamburg on a season-long loan.

The defensive situation at Arsenal grows more complicated when the injury to Nacho Monreal is factored in. The Spanish left-back, who is the back up to starter Kieran Gibbs, is also injured and will reportedly be out through October.

In short, Arsenal is getting quite thin in the back and the situation could prompt Arsene Wenger to make a move in the transfer market. While a move for Swansea City center-back Ashley Williams has been rumored for months (years?) to be headed to the Emirates.

The problem with Williams is two fold.

First, the Swans are said to want $15.3 million (£10m) for Williams’ services, a price which is a bit rich for a 28 year old center-back who has zero experience in Europe.

Second, if Arsenal are to buy a defender, flexibility is key. Williams, while very solid at the center-back position, is not versatile enough to play as an outside back. This is a quality that both Koscielny and Vermaelen possess, and one that Wenger is likely to search for in any new addition to his back line.

The answer could be Brazilian utility man Luis Gustavo, who Arsenal are rumored to have interest. Typically deployed as a defensive midfielder, Gustavo is versatile enough to play as a center-back and full-back as well. For a proposed transfer fee of $23 million (£15m), Gustavo could be the perfect answer for the Gunners defensive issues.