Happy belated transfer deadline day, gang! The Reds have sprung a late surprise by announcing their newest signing three days after the transfer window Slammed Shut™, making official the transfer of goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga from Fluminense.
Those hoping their Adrian replacement prayers have been heard need to hold their horses, however, as Pitaluga is a mere 17-years old, and while he will be training with the first team, the lanky teenager will only be participating in Academy football this season.
“He was at Fluminense; we got some games to look at,” said goalkeeper coach John Achterberg. “All the other goalie coaches also look at it – Jack [Robinson] and the Academy coaches Mark [Morris] and Taff [Neil Edwards]. And, of course, I speak to the gaffer and the rest of the coaching department here.
“In Fluminense we had Allan [on loan], so I spoke to Julian [Ward, loan pathways and football partnerships manager] if he saw a little bit of him in training there. He saw him too and was also positive.
“I asked Ali to speak to his brother to see how it goes and how he is doing. Ali spoke to his brother and Ali went training there. We saw a little bit from the training and the games he was playing for the reserves in Brazil.
Achterberg added: “Now he is here, we have to improve [him]. He is still young, there is no pressure because there is still a long road and we don’t want to create any pressure for him because there is still work to do.
“First of all, you need to let him settle down, find his way. He needs to learn the speed, the kind of game in England is different than in Brazil, it’s a lot faster and there’s more aggression in it. All that stuff you have to calculate as well to work on a little bit.”
So that’s an indication of the kind of work that goes into picking up a €750k youngster who is, at best, half a decade away from featuring for the first team. The Reds’ fortunes in Brazilian goalkeepers has picked up recently though, so who knows, perhaps Pitaluga can continue the legacy of his compatriot.