El Centrocampista


With the usually hectic January 2012 transfer window having drawn to a close, many are surprised that compared to last year, very little money has changed hands throughout Europe.

Less money around, clubs in financial difficulty, or simply preparing for the Financial Fair Play regulations, soon to come into force. Just some of the thoughts as to why this transfer window has been relatively quiet.

Granada CF had been very busy making enquiries and holding negotiations during the month. A solid offer was made and accepted by Tottenham, for Mexican forward Giovani dos Santos. In the end, he wasn’t interested in moving to a club that lacked “reputation”.

Senegalese striker Khouma Babacar agreed personal terms, but his club Fiorentina and Granada CF couldn’t reach an agreement over their terms. Granada wanted an initial loan deal, with an option to buy for €6,000,000 whilst Fiorentina wanted €10,000,000. Neither would budge and as an aside, apparently Fiorentina were reluctant to sell to a club with strong links to Udinese, with whom they’re said to have previous grievances with.

As a follower of the team though, you’ll have have to forgive me for thinking that they may just have made possibly the best signing of the transfer window. That of young Brazilian forward Henrique Almeida Caixeta Nascentes, or as he’s commonly known, “Henrique”.

Just in case you haven’t heard of him, Henrique played a starring role during the FIFA U20 World Cup with the winning Brazilian side, scoring five goals and providing three assists in seven matches.

As well as his tournament winners medal, he also collected the adidas Golden Boot award as highest scorer, along with the adidas Golden Ball as “most valuable player”.

I could be getting a little ahead of myself, but it’s interesting to note the following three names, who were previous South American winners of both awards:

(2007) Sergio Agüero

(2005) Lionel Messi

(2001) Javier Saviola

Henrique has joined Granada CF initially on loan from São Paulo for a fee of €500,000 until June 2013, with an option to make the move permanent any time at €6,000,000.

English side Queens Park Rangers had also moved for the player during the January transfer window, but the move collapsed after he was refused a work permit.

No such restrictions in Spain though and Granada CF have managed to pull off what could be a fantastic bit of business.

Whilst untried in European football, his performances at the FIFA U20 World Cup has certainly captured the imagination of Granada fans, who were hoping for a big signing.

If he can make a name for himself in Europe to even a fraction of the level of the previous Golden Ball and Golden boot winners I mentioned, the fans and the club will be absolutely delighted.


  1. James Martinez

    2 February, 2012 at 12:39

    Great article! As a follower of both the hoops of QPR and Granada CF it was funny to see Henrique finally end up at my spanish club. As much as we needed a bit of Brasilian flair at QPR i think his physique would of not been able to cope with the EPL. He will surely triumph in los Carmenes with the noise and passion it brings!

    Suerte Henrique!

  2. Iain McMullen

    2 February, 2012 at 15:38

    I agree that a move will to Spain will probably be more suitable than one to the Premier League – Brazilians have been very hit and miss in England as well.

    I’m really excited to see how he gets on at Granada and it could prove a massive coup for the club, great stuff Heath!

  3. B4rc4

    2 February, 2012 at 15:40

    He looks good on the video.

  4. Jafar

    2 February, 2012 at 18:06

    I honest cannot believe what I’m reading, if he is anywhere near as good as he was in the World Cup, Granada have a fantastic player. Magnificent piece of business.

    • Iain McMullen

      2 February, 2012 at 18:34

      I was very impressed with him during the u20 World Cup as well. It could prove a fantastic piece of business by Granada.

      Time will tell however…

  5. Heath Chesters

    2 February, 2012 at 22:08

    You could get an early chance to see him in action. Looks like he’ll be in the squad to face Málaga on Monday night.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how he gets on. Seems to have a great eye for goal and a great burst of speed getting into scoring positions.

  6. Justine

    3 February, 2012 at 01:40

    What the hell is Dos Santos doing turning down a transfer? He needs to get the hell over himself real soon! He’s already set back his career leaving Barcelona. His career is rotting away in front of our eyes. It’s a real shame to be honest

  7. Heath Chesters

    3 February, 2012 at 14:14

    Justine: Granada simply don’t have the “name” yet, even though they’re one of the most solvent clubs around financially, even without the backing of Russian or Arabic billions.

    Gio dos Santos is one of many higher profile players the club have approached, both during the summer and winter transfer windows. Unfortunately, the players (or their agents) perhaps think it’s a safer bet to join an already “renown” club, or wait for such an offer to come along.

    My own personal opinion is that although Gio might have been considered a good signing, he has some baggage and his career has gone off track somewhat. Granada made Spurs and the player very good offers. Indeed, Granada were the only club to make an official bid, which was accepted by Spurs. The player was waiting for a better offer, or a “bigger” club to come in for him. In the end, Granada decided not to be his last choice and pulled out.

    Henrique on the other hand… as soon as Sao Paulo accepted the bid from Granada, he jumped on a plane to Spain, signed a contract within 24 hours and was in training the very next day.

    For me, Granada have got a potentially better player, who literally jumped at the chance to join and is eager to prove himself at the club, as well as on the European stage.

    I think Granada will survive this season, which will help their “name” somewhat, when it comes to future transfer targets. That said, I’m happy for them to keep looking at talented young players. Granada have learned a lot during both transfer windows. Basically, the club president has said that he’ll continue to make enquiries for players, but “if they’re not seriously interested in wearing the red & white shirt”, then why should the club go to the expense of signing them.

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