John Guillem looks back on one Andre Santos’ time in England…
‘Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.’
― Friedrich Nietzsche, Der Wille zur Macht
There are certain sad moments in our lives where the congenial veneer of our world peels back a little, revealing a brief, harrowing glimpse of limitation. All too often it is a realisation of transience or mortality: the moment when you can see white hairs on your mother’s head (or is it just that she can’t be bothered to dye anymore?), when your old form teacher retires, when the first creaks in the beloved sports pro’s game emerge.
In football, we tend not to encounter such moments of bathos, as everything is slathered with a thick layer of drama and hyperbole. Things are always one way or another, often both at the same time or interchanging so rapidly as to create a resonance effect: grey areas are scarce. Surprises are always hugely surprising or something we knew all along … so it’s surprising that I was surprised in just that way I mentioned before (the one about death and all that – that is, an unsurprising but nonetheless very much a surprise surprise) some eleven months ago, with a mildly but not hugely surprising individual at the centre of it all: Andre Santos.
The news in question was just a scrap of transfer gossip (arising, as they tend to, in a manner which is entirely logical if you work back to first principles, and as such is likely to have been made up by some journo, and unlikely to ever happen): given Nacho Monreal’s signing for Arsenal, and the fact that the Turkish transfer window was still open (he played there before, you know!), inevitably Andre would be moving out sharpish, Kieran Gibb’s six week plus injury notwithstanding.
Leaving that piece of bollocks aside for a moment, the simple realisation which accompanied it was that his days were very clearly numbered at Arsenal. In many ways, this was already pretty obvious (given that he plays like a horny bumblebee, only lacking much sting), but the gossip-giblet shifted my relationship to it from the cognitive realm to the emotional one – I realised that old uncle Andre wouldn’t be in the team again come summerfall, whether he would spend years on loan like Denilson or does us a favour and bugger off the wage bill (which – thankfully I suppose– is what did happen). He is, to return to the life and death bit, a gonner now, rather than a Gooner (if you’ll excuse the shitty pun). And now, indeed, he is gone. Continue reading