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Arsenal’s loss is Chelsea’s gain: Mineiro the key for Scolari

Earlier this week, Chelsea signed veteran midfielder Mineiro on a free transfer. The 33-year-old Brazilian was a free agent, having left Hertha Berlin at the end of last season, and has signed a deal at Stamford Bridge until next summer. It’s not normally the sort of deal associated with big-spending Chelsea, but nevertheless, I believe he could be one of the signings of the season.

It is thought that both Arsenal and Birmingham were interested in bringing Mineiro to their respective clubs, but Luiz Felipe Scolari’s days as Brazil manager played their part and he opted for a move to Chelsea. He has won 24 caps for Brazil and was a part of their World Cup squad in 2006, meaning he brings with him a wealth of experience at the top level.

It certainly seems that Arsenal’s pUrsuit of the player went further than expressing an interest. Earlier this month, he spent a week on trial at the club and even played in a behind-closed-doors friendly as he sought to impress Arsene Wenger. However, despite the advantages having an experienced midfielder amongst the youngsters would bring, Wenger opted out of signing the player. This left the door open for Chelsea and I honestly believe Arsenal’s loss is their gain.

Mineiro is a top-quality footballer with similar attributes to Claude Makelele. He sits in front of the defence, constantly wins possession for his side and gives the ball to the more attacking midfielders to express themselves. It has been a case of needs must for Chelsea because of Michael Essien’s long-term injury, but they have a real gem in Mineiro. When he is ready to make his first appearance for the club, the likes of Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Joe Cole will appreciate him sitting behind them, constantly pulling the strings.

Of course, it is not only Essien who has picked up an injury recently. Fellow midfielder Deco is out with a thigh injury for an unknown quantity of time. This makes the signing of Mineiro even more key. Should Scolari be short of attacking options, Mineiro could free up Jon Obi Mikel – who has mainly operated in a defensive midfield role this season – to perform further up the field if needed. If nothing else, Mineiro provides Scolari with an increased amount of options in midfield and that can only be a good thing.

Unfortunately it seems that Minerio won’t quite be ready to make his debut against Stoke this weekend, in a game that sees Chelsea travel to a newly-promoted side for the first time this season. In terms of football betting, the odds will obviously be favouring a Chelsea victory at the Britannia Stadium as they look to continue their unbeaten start to the season. It will be interesting to see if Scolari rests a few players ahead of the Champions League game in Romania on Wednesday.

Thomas Rooney – Professional Sports Writer

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