Arsenal’s Wellington Silva frozen out at Fluminense
Player interview sparks war of words with Flu director
On Thursday morning, Brazilian site Globoesporte published a lengthy interview with Arsenal bound Wellington Silva. The 17-year-old took full advantage to complain about the lack of playing opportunities he’s been given at Fluminense in the last six months. Fluminense are in the hunt for their first Brasileiro title since 1984. Injuries to first choice strikers Emerson and Fred should have opened the door for Silva but the teenager has been dropped from the first team squad altogether. Instead of first team involvement, the teenager is stuck at home playing video games.
The rift between the player and his Brazilian club has been growing for some time with the forward failing to make even the bench. This week, Silva took umbrage to a recent remark made by Muricy Ramalho. The coach explained that Silva would not figure in his plans because he felt the player’s head wasn’t in the right place. Silva denied this and retorted that he has always put Fluminense first and that he was keen to play. The teenager also complained that he felt neglected by Flu and felt he deserved more ‘care and attention’ from the club.
Silva put the blame for his lack of opportunities at Fluminense on Ramalho claiming that coach barely gives him the time of day. Ramalho may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he guided São Paulo to three consecutive league titles – a feat no other club has ever come close to achieving in Brazil.
After reading the criticism, Flu’s Vice-president of football, Alcides Antunes, jumped to the defence of his coach and attacked Silva’s attitude.
“In the [Campeonato] Carioca, we gave him support because he’s a kid. We gave him special treatment with Cuca [ex coach], and special physical and psychological preparation but he never showed that he wanted to establish himself as a professional. I’m not sure if it is his age. We all gave him the attention he needed. He always had a chance to play like all the other players”.
Antunes added, “Muricy isn’t going to give a chance to those, who in training, show that they don’t want to play. He started well but later he didn’t dedicate himself and didn’t show the right attitude and behaviour in training. He began to turn up late … we took into consideration that he was 17-year-old boy but what he said [in the interview] is not fair”.
The director was adamant that the Fluminense give plenty of opportunities to their youngsters and cited the emergence of Fernando Bob who is now regular – though Antunes seemed unaware that the player is 22-years-old and was signed from Avaí.
After this latest episode, there seems no way back for Silva at Fluminense and the forward must now bide his time before switching to the Gunners next year.
Silva’s leap from Flu’s junior side to his deal with Arsenal has allowed him to move from the Vila da Penha neighbourhood to an expensive house in Rio’s glamorous Barra da Tijuca region. There he studies English in preparation for a move to London in January. Silva, though, admits he’s struggling with the language and complains it’s even making him tired during training.
Silva will join Arsenal for a fourth and final adaptation period on 28th October before returning to Brazil to see out the rest of his contract with Fluminense.