I’m extremely excited by this one. Ever since the news in the summer came through that Gustavo Scarpa was joining Nottingham Forest after he finished his season in Brazil, the Palmeiras playmaker has very much been on my radar, and you can’t help but feel impressed.
31 starts seven goals and twelve assists for the league champions ensured that the quirky rugged haired attacking midfielder became the gigantic South American nations most coveted player, a golden ball winner for 2022 as well as the Premio Craque do Brasileirao, the award given by the CBF (Brazil Football Federation) for the best player of the year, also voted for by the media, a title that the likes of Carlos Tevez, Neymar and Gabriel Jesus have previously won.
But unlike when those renowned superstars lifted gongs, Gustavo Scarpa is no spring chicken, he’s not the next best thing, not the new kid on the block, instead an old rogue player who’s always been admired as one of the best in the division, a Serie A stalwart of Palmeiras and before that Fluminense, a two time league champion, a two time state champion and a two time winner of the Copa Libertadores he’s had just one cap for his country and at 28 might have thought his chances of moving to Europe had passed.
But when Nottingham Forest flirted interest in the summer, eyes opened on a move to see out his contract with Palmeiras and head over to the Premier League by mid December, a move which was only officially completed last week.
So what will Scarpa bring?
A number ten, oh no not again, but Scarpa is more than just another Jesse Lingard or Morgan Gibbs-White, an intelligent footballer who can fill a variety of attacking positions with ample defensive responsibility in his make up, he can play on the left hand side or deeper in midfield, is known to drop in and cover when needed and has an eye for a pass, in fact Scarpa has already made his debut for Nottingham Forest in a friendly against Atromitos this week, and has registered two assists to his name already.
A set piece specialist? It goes without saying, he’s Brazilian, which is also great news for another left sider at the club, Renan Lodi who was just starting to find his form post World Cup break up.
Any concerns that a player so used to his life in Brazil would struggle to adapt to his new surroundings in Nottingham maybe quashed by his quirky nature, on day one in the city he was rumoured to have been seen in the Old Market Square with a skateboard, an enthusiast of grunge he likes rock music, playing the guitar and danger sports like wakeboarding but is also prone to sitting silently with a rubiks cube and enjoys reading novels, there’s nothing ordinary about this already loveable nuisance who I have no doubt will be great fun to have around the training ground for players too.
But beyond the fun and eccentricity, beyond the quirkiness and the scruffy hair we have a footballer, that yes, might be expected to get off the ground running, and if so, could be the catalyst, to take Nottingham Forest to another level.
We’ve seen the influence that Bruno Guimaraes has had with Newcastle United and there’s no reason that Scarpa can’t be Reds own Brazilian influencer, a player who can find a pass, who can shoot for goal, and who can make a tackle, is one that might beyond all the millions already spent, be Nottingham Forest’s best bit of business this season, on a free transfer too.
On signing for the club, with limited English in his locker, Scarpa said “I’m very happy to be here, it’s a dream for me.”
He continued “It’s a new challenge and I can’t wait for it to begin. It’s always been an ambition since I was a little kid to play in Europe and my dream is to play in the Premier League.
“I’m a technical player but also I’ve developed my game defensively over the past couple of seasons. I’m very dedicated, hard-working and I’m excited to get started now.”
*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).
*Main image @NFFC Gustavo Scarpa signs for Forest until 2026.