Unknown Brazilian forwards without any international caps don’t often arrive in the Premier League, so it was a surprise when Wellington Paulista completed his six-month loan move to West Ham yesterday.
The Cruzeiro forward has a very respectable goal-scoring record in domestic Brazilian football, but to ask a South American to adjust to the British game in such a short time period is a tall order. In fact, barring a year-long spell with former La Liga side Alaves, Wellington has played all of his football in South America – and he’s now 28 years-old, so not really in the ‘developing youngster’ bracket.
Transfers like this crop-up from time to time, and they seem to have little rhyme or reason to them. On the assumption that West Ham don’t have a secret Brazilian scouting department, this is probably a move which has been manufactured by an agent. Sam Allardyce may get some healthy production out of Wellington, but the principal purpose of the loan might be to build the player’s reputation in Europe ahead of a permanent move at the end of the year.
It’s not necessarily the case that Wellington and his agent are looking for a ‘bigger club’, more just a platform to secure a lucrative European contract which will take him into his thirties – Allardyce was probably offered the deal on reduced terms in return for the stage which he could offer, and clearly thought it a risk worth taking.
I could be wrong, but that’s how it looks from the outside.