George Roberts remember’s Jo’s two loan spells at Everton…
Everton’s previous forays into the world of Brazilian football had been unmemorable. Ask fans about Rodrigo or Anderson da Silva, and you’ll most likely be met with blank expressions. The loan signing of Jô in February 2009 hinted at better prospects, however. Here was a striker with a reputation: Manchester City had paid some £18 million the previous summer to sign him from CSKA Moscow. Jô himself admitted he hadn’t settled well at City and had struggled to adapt to the pace and physicality of the English game.
The early signs were certainly encouraging. Making his debut against Bolton, the striker scored a brace; three more goals followed before the season was out. David Moyes turned down the option of a £10 million permanent move over the summer, but happily took Jô back on loan when he again found himself once again surplus to requirements at City.
However, Jô’s lack of physical presence and shoddy first touch became obvious. If Everton had been a side with a genuine passing game, this may not have been such an issue. But Moyes’s more direct approach and reluctance to field two strikers alongside one another required the sole forward to hold the ball up, rather than run onto passes. Fifteen games in Jô’s second season at Goodison Park yielded a grand total of zero goals. The fan’s frustration grew and the loanee became increasingly marginalised.
Jô offered his own goodbye kiss with an unauthorised séjour in Brazil over Christmas in 2009. Everton demanded that City, still paying his wages, dealt out a fine. “We like Jo but there has to be discipline at football clubs”, noted the schoolteacher Moyes, tersely. The inevitable return to Manchester was completed once the transfer window re-opened in the New Year; unwanted, he was immediately shipped out to Galatasaray.
Easily the most talented of the trio of Brazilians to play for Everton, Jô now finds himself in Belo Horizonte, leading the line for Atlético Mineiro – and scoring twice for the Brazilian national team in this year’s Confederations Cup.