€50 million appears too much for Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, to part with as Chelsea are set to miss out on ‘The Incredible’ Hulk. He looks set to move to the current Russian champions, Zenit St Petersburg. But is this a coup for Zenit or a near-miss for Chelsea?
Hulk rarely settled as a young player as he moved from Vilanovense to Sao Paulo to Vitória. He made his professional debut for the latter, but that was his only appearance for the Bahia club (not to be confused with Esporte Clube Bahia – Vitória’s fiercest rivals). Other players who came through the youth set up at Vitória include Chelsea’s David Luiz, Dida and baby cradler Bebeto.
After Vitória, Hulk moved to Japan and signed for Kawasaki Frontale – first on loan, then permanently at the age of just 19. He was loaned out to Consadole Sapporo where he scored 25 in 38 and then a year later to Tokyo Verdy where he scored 37 in 42. Now, the ideal strike rate for any striker is 1 goal every 2 games. Essentially, Hulk almost had a goal every time he stepped onto the pitch at Tokyo Verde, although he is no Fernando Peyroteo or Josef Bican (Google them).
So, when he finally rocked up at Porto at 22, Hulk was already at his seventh different club. Porto paid €5.5 million for 50% of the player’s rights. They currently own 85% which is the main reason for the over-inflated transfer tag. If Hulk is sold to Zenit for €50 million, Porto will receive €42.5 million while the other €7.5 million will go to an unnamed investor.
At Porto, the Brazilian managed 77 goals in 168 appearances all competitions as well as 55 assists. His best season came in 2010-11 where he managed 36 goals and 21 assists in 53 games.
At international level, he has 5 in 13 for the full Brazil side and managed to score in the Olympic Final against Mexico for the Olympic side. Despite this, he is very much unfancied by a large section of football fans in Brazil as they prefer to see the more skilful Lucas Moura or Oscar ahead of the more brutish character of Hulk on the right side with Neymar on the left and Leandro Damiao in the central forward position.
Iit’s clear to me that this is a massive coup for Zenit. Hulk is a world class forward. The only sticking point is the price. But, to move around as often as he did at such a young age meant Hulk had to mature quickly.
If he can replicate his 2010-11 form, Zenit will take some beating in both the Russian Premier League and the Champions League.
Written by Youcef El Barhdadi
Follow me on Twitter @yelbarhdadi
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