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Thursday, 18 January, 2001, 14:24 GMT
The boys from Brazil
Edu
Edu (left) is the latest import from Brazil
BBC Sport Online's Phil McNulty looks at the mixed fortunes enjoyed by the so-called Samba Superstars who come to England from Brazil.

Arsenal cut through mountains of red tape and endured a six-month delay before signing Edu - now Arsene Wenger must hope he is worth the wait.

Wenger at least has the consolation of knowing he possesses one Brazilian player who has come from the South American soccer capital and enhanced his reputation, in Silvinho.

The talent from the beaches and the back-streets of Brazil should come with a gold-plated guarantee of success given the rich pedigree of soccer mad cities such as Rio and Sao Paulo.

Sadly for many clubs, those who have arrived in England from Brazil to ply their trade have either flattered to deceive - or simply deceived.

Mirandinha
Mirandinha and Gazza
Wenger showed his usual sure touch in the transfer market when he signed Silvinho in a 4m deal from Corinthians in 1999.

He has since played for Brazil, and would undoubtedly have been a regular if it was not for reasonable competition from Roberto Carlos, even though he has even fallen from favour recently.

And Wenger clearly believes Edu comes from similar stock, judging by his willingness to play a waiting game to complete his 5m move.

Arsenal have faith in the boys from Brazil, but others may have a different tale to tell.

Sunderland also believe they have a gem in giant central defender Emerson Thome, who proved himself at Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea before moving to the Stadium of Light.

Branco
Branco - disappointment
Everton were first on the Rio trail back in late 1983 when they were desperately attempting to spark a revival.

They moved for Flamengo striker Nunes, despite suspicions about his suitability being aroused by pictures of him wearing thick gloves - even in searing temperatures at home.

It was a short lived chase, perhaps ended by Nunes' bold statement that would mark his debut with "a hat-trick in honour of John Lennon."

Newcastle United made the breakthrough in 1987 when they signed the gifted but unpredictable Mirandinha from Palmeiras.

Boro fans
Boro fans prepare for let down
He scored 20 goals in 47 games, sparking an outbreak of sombrero-wearing among the Toon Army, even scoring a winner in a rare victory at Anfield.

But all he did for boss Jim Smith, who inherited the colourful star, was to make his hairline recede even faster and further and he was on his way again in 1990.

Middlesbrough made the greatest inroads into Brazil, and for a time the little maestro Juninho looked like becoming a legend.

Juninho
Juninho was initial success
He was voted the club's greatest player of all time in one poll, but was sold to Atletico Madrid after Boro were relegated.

Juninho returned to the Riverside on loan last season, but was a shadow of his former self and did not complete a permanent deal.

Fellow Brazilian Emerson looked a snip at 4m when he arrived from Porto in 1996, but he was soon spending more time AWOL than turning in worthwhile performances, and he was another under-achiever.

Brazilian full-back Branco was signed to keep Juninho company, but his glory days as an international were a distant memory by the time he pulled on a Boro shirt and he was a massive disappointment.

Wenger will have done his homework, and will hope Edu does not join the list of Brazilian casualties swallowed up by the unique demands of English football.

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See also:

15 Jul 00 |  Arsenal
Wenger: Edu is still a Gunner
28 Jun 00 |  Football
Brazilian eyes up Gunners
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