On this day in 2001, Arsenal signed Edu from Corinthians for £6m.
The Gunners signed the midfielder as a replacement for Emmanuel Petit who had left Arsenal for Barcelona a year earlier.
During his three years at Corinthians (1998-2001), Edu won the 1998 and 1999 Brasileiro championships, as well as the 2000 World Club Championship. Therefore, £6m seemed pretty reasonable.
Arsenal did try to sign him in 2000, the year Petit left, but it didn’t go through after it was discovered the Edu had a fake Portuguese passport. However, a year later he’d acquired a legitimate Italian one since his father was born there.
Edu went down as somewhat of a cult hero during his four years in north London despite not getting off to the best start. After signing for Arsenal, his sister was tragically killed in a car accident. Then, during his debut against Leicester City, which ended as a goalless draw, the midfielder picked up an injury after just 15 minutes. He went on to only feature four more times during his first half-a-season.
However, during his second season in London, we got a glimpse of what the Brazilian international was all about. Edu made 14 Premier League appearances, scored once and Arsenal went on to win the title.
Physically strong and confident yet skilled, Edu took to the Premier League relatively easily and went on to make a total of 127 appearances for the club, with 76 starts and 51 appearances as a sub, scoring 15 goals.
However, after Arsene Wenger signed Gilberto in 2002, Edu, who had quickly become a fan favourite, found it harder to get game time. Although, he still manage a goal and assist in Arsenal’s fifth-round FA Cup win against Manchester United. We went on to win the trophy that season.
During his final season with the Gunners, he made 12 league appearances and scored twice. Edu left Arsenal for Valencia in 2005 on a free since his contract was up and returned to his first team, Corinthians, in 2009.
Edu iss now 38, and although he’s retired from playing football, he was named as Corinthians’ Director of Football in March 2011 and advised the Iranian national team coach during the 2014 World Cup.