Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Where in the world is Afonso Alves?

[Ed. Note: Thanks to Bigus Dickus again for the pic]

[Ed. Note...UPDATE: Alves will start tonight in the FA Cup game against Sheffield United. Let's see if he lights the bloody world on fire. My money's on "no".]

Now I don't know about you, nor can I speak for anyone else, but if I paid 12.7 million pounds for something, well, anything, I'd want my money's worth. If it was a yacht? I'd ride the bastard to work each morning and pray that I don't get a parking ticket. I'd never leave my mansion if it cost that much. If it was a plane? Fuck, even if I'm heading 30 blocks downtown, I'm taking the sky way so have a runway handy.

Unfortunately for Middlesbrough, they just spent that amount on a new plaything, Brazilian striker Afonso Alves, and he's still sitting in the corner gathering dust.

It's been a bloody month since you signed him! What's going on?

The Guardian blog brought this up this morning, and it's something I can't believe I missed. Not even Shevchenko gets that little playing time for his price tag!

There are a few details worth mentioning here: it's not entirely manager Gareth Southgate's fault as the wonderfully-relaxed [can't think why... too much time in the coffee bars?] British Embassy in Holland failed to issue Alves with a visa in time for him to immediately start playing. The long lay-off was apparent in training, as he showed up quite, ahem, larger around the stomach and way off his original game pace.

Southgate did give him three blink-and-you'll-miss-it substitute appearances, but in each one, he displayed the same I-can't-be-arsed attitude, doing little to nothing during his time on the pitch.

Sure, he did manage 34 goals for run-of-the-mill Heerenveen last year, but we've seen the Dutch Corollary [as I like to call it; expect a more nerdy, detailed post on that towards the end of the week] before; quite simply, goals against rubbish Dutch league teams like Venlo and AS Alkmaar don't exactly translate well to the EPL. [Dirk Kurt anyone?]

Alves, of course, is not going to take this criticism lying down [probably mostly sitting, I'd imagine]:

"I look like I'm lazy, like Romario, but it's not the truth. I'm just playing a game with defenders. It's a tactical thing. They are not looking at me and by the time they do look it's too late, I've suddenly scored. Defenders don't know how to defend against me."
[I can't wait to see what he does to Titus Bramble.]

The Dutch Eredivisie is notoriously slack on the defensive side, and I'm skeptical as to how well Alves can adjust to the English game. His innocuous, anonymous start to a career with The Boro is troubling, to say the least.

This is a team that hasn't seen a great striker in a decade, when the silver-haired Fabrizio "White Feather" Ravanelli lit up the Riverside time and time again [I'll never forget, he scored a hat-trick against us on the opening day of the season... ugh]. Since then, they've suffered through the pain of a past-it Alen Boksic and a seemingly-blind Massimo Maccarone.

Afonso Alves has been set up as the goose with the golden egg, but right now, he hasn't laid a bloody thing.

Do we blame Farmer Southgate or the goose himself?


Ian said...

The Dutch Corollary, also known as "Why Michael Bradley looks terrible when he plays for the US National Team"

The Fan's Attic said...

He's gone missing along with the "L" in his first name.

Lingering Bursitis said...

Ian: the Corollary never lies. The full report will blow everyone's minds.

Attic: ha, good one. He never had an L to begin with! We can call off Scooby Doo, who was readying to take the case.

The Fan's Attic said...

LB: i know...that's what makes it even more frustrating.