In every walk of life, there is information that is available on a need-to-know basis to a small circle of people, but not disclosed more widely.
Football tries to be as secretive as most of those walks of life.
We never know precisely what is going on behind the scenes on transfers, in or out. For every 10 or 20 wrong names in the rumour mill – placed there tactically by players’ agents or clubs or, as Monsieur Salut is willing to admit, by untrustworthy journalists – there is often one right one that no one has even guessed at.
And within each club, there are matters of behaviour, attitude, off-the-field problems, injury and health that we, the fans, are never fully aware of.
But we’re human so we speculate, at work or in the pub, on football forums and e-mail loops and in our own heads.
So what is Steve Bruce’s secret about Paulo da Silva?
What is the explanation for spending good money, if not on a fee then at least on his presumably very decent wages, on one of the undoubted successes of the 2010 World Cup and never playing him. Whatever the crisis of fitness or competence in his position and even when he is – as has been the case week after week – sitting on the bench and apparent need arises, the one certainty seems to be that Paulo Da Silva does not feature.
The matter has been exercising the Blackcats lists, as this sequence shows:
From the Sunderland Echo :
“Bruce has concerns about Paraguayan Da Silva, who has been linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light in January.”
It would be interesting to see what Steve’s concerns are.
1 Why would PDS want to stay to sit on a bench?
2 Why would PDS watch players shuffled around, out of position, while he sat on the same bench?
3 Why would PDS listen to Bruce telling everyone that Central and South American players need time to settle in?
1 He won’t unless the money is big.
3 After 15 months? He won’t.
Angeleri will go. Riveros will go and PDS will go. It will be down to their ‘not settling’ to PL football. Really it’s down to the spin of the roulette wheel when buying SA players. Bruce gambled that they’d hit the ground running. Hard to adjust to the pace when you’re on the bench.
The lack of use of PDS in games has been awful. Bruce has just been panning for players, hoping he’d strike it rich in a cheap market, and it hasn’t happened. Riveros is another one whose career is going backwards.
The situation says more about Bruce than the players.
I agree Terry
When you sign players of proven calibre; and that applies to all the names you mention, you don’t sit there judging them on the basis of half an hour here or ten minutes there. The PDS and Riveros showed their mettle on the biggest stage. PDS was one of the best three CBs in the world in my eyes during the WC. You base your judgement on that and give them enough playing time for that quality to eventually shine through. How can they acclimatise
(if that’s needed anyway) when they don’t play. God knows he’s done this with a totally unproven commodity in Welbeck who is on loan. Yet, he refuses to do this with players he’s bought. These lads will move on and do well somewhere else, and there’ll be people saying “yeah well they couldn’t do it in the PL.” Hard though sitting on your arse.
It’s all a bit odd and makes me wonder whether there is some other reason why he isn’t playing. A lot of this went on with Peter Reid, although admittedly the players then were of a lower calibre. It’s plain bad business for a club to purchase a commodity and never use it.
This, then, from the ESPN Soccernet site, is the statistical story of Da Silva’s season so far, including South Africa 2010::
TEAM Competition … Games Started … Used as sub
Paraguay World Cup 5 0
Paraguay International Friendly 4 0
Sunderland Carling Cup 0 1
Sunderland Premier League 1 0
Sunderland’s official club site, reporting rumours of a Da Silva return to ‘his old club, Mexico’s Deportivo Toluca, states: “The defender’s former side have been reported as possible suitors to re-sign the Paraguayan skipper, who has struggled to hold down a regular place in Sunderland’s line-up since moving to the Stadium of Light last year.”
Struggled to hold down a place? It sometimes seems he’s an ever-present. How often has the phrase “14 Da Silva” appeared among the list of unused subs?
But lo and behold, there IS an explanation, and from Steve Bruce himself, quoted on the Evening Chronicle website.
“He’s a very, very good player. The only problem Da Silva has is coming up against the big strikers.
At the World Cup there was no real big player, and the teams don’t play like Wolves and try to bash him up.
In Mexico it’s all tippy-tappy stuff and little players, the same at the World Cup.
Against Spain at the World Cup he was magnificent, but against anyone like a Stoke or Bolton or a Wolves or a Blackburn, he physically can’t deal with that aerial stuff, he struggles.”
* Coming next: how Bruce can possibly know any of this unless Wolves, Blackburn, Bolton and Stoke kindly loan Sunderland big, bruising forwards for our training sessions.