For two days running now the Daily Mail have trumpeted the rumour that Arsene Wenger is tracking Fiorentina’s Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo. According to the unreliable tabloid, Arsenal will need to shell out Â£15m to secure Melo’s services.
The North Londoners have been linkedÂ with Melo for several seasons now, with whispers surfacing almost two years ago of a mooted transfer to the Premier League.
Felipe Melo only joined the Viola in the summer of 2008 from Spanish side Almeria for â‚¬8 million. Prior to his time in Andalusia, Melo started out learning his trade in Brazil with Flamengo, Cruzeiro and then Gremio. He then made the move to Spain in 2005, enjoying spells at Mallorca, Racing Santander and eventually Almeria.
At 25-years-old, Melo is usually positioned in a defensive midfield position, a role which Arsenal have had some difficulty filling since the departures of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva in recent years. Last season The Professor handed chances to Denilson, Abou Diaby and Alex Song to make the position their own, however all three appeared to come up short in truly asserting themselves in that role, leaving Cesc without an established partner in the centre of the park.
Melo appears to be a player whom Wenger could bring in to plug that hole immediately. With bags of experience including eight international call-ups for the Samba Boys, Melo is not only a ball-winner but moreover, once in possession the midfielder has an excellent eye for a pass. Distribution seems to come easy for Felipe.
Although hardly prolific in front of goal – Melo’s two goals from the 2008/09 season can be seen here – Felipe is able to strike the ball from distance, as well as having the ability to carry the ball upfield and create goalscoring opportunities for his fellow teammates.
One side of Melo’s game that does appear to need some extra work is his temperament. Last term the midfielder picked up a sizable 17 yellow cards plus another three reds.
Video evidence of Felipe Melo’s passing ability can be seen here, while an individual highlights video of Melo’s performance against Juventus back in January 2009 that flags up his skills at breaking up the play can be seen here.