WTTGT Writer: Ben Crump
It is astonishing to think that some Arsenal fans may not even know anything about Pedro Botelho; the young Brazilian who has been at the club for almost four and a half years, but is yet to make an appearance at any level.
Back in 2007, you may or may not remember Arsène Wenger beating a whole host of clubs to the signature the young Brazilian left-back. The defender began his professional career with Figueirense Futebol Clube in his native country of Brazil and was quickly spotted by Wenger.
However, upon his arrival at the Emirates Stadium it was made clear to Arsenal by the authorities that Botelho would not be granted a work permit. He was immediately shipped out on loan to Spanish Second Division side UD Salamanca where he became an important part of their first-team. Although he returned to Arsenal for pre-season training, he would later join Salamanca again for another loan the following season.
His second time, though, was unlike the first and due to a change in the Spanish club’s circumstances off the field, Botelho was deemed surplus to requirements by the club.
He returned to England again without a work permit, therefore unable to participate with the club and having to wait until the summer for another loan move away from the club. He joined Celta Vigo and played his football in the Spanish Second Division once more. He became an integral part of the Galicians side as he helped them knock La Liga giants, Villarreal out of the Copa Del Rey, a game in which Botelho won the game’s deciding penalty.
Summer arrived and he was back in London, but told he had once again failed the dreaded work permit application. Inevitably, Wenger shipped Botelho out on loan for a fourth time.
He joined Cartagena and played almost 40 matches scoring 4 goals from his now accustomed left-back position.
His chances of breaking into the Arsenal first-team after four successive loans to Spanish Second Division sides doesn’t seem very likely and subsequently, Arsène Wenger told the 21 year old he would not be given a chance at the Emirates until he had played La Liga football.
A deal with Levante fell through and with his application still proving to be hard to obtain. Botelho was left again with no options.
Fortunately for him, newly promoted La Liga side Rayo Vallecano came knocking and have taken the young Brazilian on loan for a season. Botelho himself hopes this will be his last spell away from the club and if he proves to be a success, this time next summer he’ll be able to bypass the work permit torture by obtaining Spanish nationality. Wenger could well have a new/old quality left-back at his disposal.