Douglas had been heavily linked with certain Russian sides. Dutch broadcaster RTV Oost reported that the Brazilian-born man-mountain had signed a four-year deal with Kuban Krasnodar. However, RTV Oost were proved wrong, when the defender signed for Dynamo Moscow last week, on a three-year deal. Dynamo fans may be unfamiliar with their new #5, so here is a preview on the player and his impact on Dynamo:
Douglas Franco Teixeira was born in Florianópolis, Brazil. He holds dual Brazilian-Dutch citizenship, after gaining Dutch citizenship in 2011, during his time in the Netherlands. He wanted to become a Dutch citizen so that he could be called up for the Dutch national team, a feat that he achieved in October 2012, when he was called up for the Oranje for the first time.
Douglas is a 25-year-old Dutch centre-back. The 6 ft 4 in/1.92m defender was available on a free transfer after his contract with FC Twente expired. Dynamo signing him on a free transfer represents great value for money, especially when one considers that a £7million fee was previously demanded by FC Twente last summer.
The fact that FC Twente were willing to risk losing Douglas on a free transfer, instead of cashing in on him last summer or January, shows the value of his presence in a back line. Douglas appeared 120 times for FC Twente, playing a crucial role in Twente’s triumphs. He helped Twente win the Eredivisie in 2010, the KNVB cup in 2011 and the Johan Cruijff Shield in 2010 and 2011. He also provided a large aerial threat from set pieces, scoring 4 goals last season.
Douglas’ signature should be considered a coup for Dynamo, considering the whole host of larger Western European clubs who have previously been linked with his signature. The big clubs include Liverpool, Newcastle United and Sampdoria. Newcastle were the most linked club, especially last summer when a move looked very likely.
The fact that Douglas chose Dynamo Moscow over bigger Western European teams is very interesting. By choosing Russia, Douglas has underlined the growth of the Russian Premier League’s profile. Cynics would say that money is the main motivating factor for Douglas; they are probably right. However, Dynamo finished higher in their league than Newcastle and Sampdoria finished in theirs. (Dynamo 7th/16, Newcastle 15th/20 and Sampdoria 14th/20).
So, what will Douglas bring to Dynamo and Russian football? Greater defensive solidity is the short answer. Douglas was very popular with FC Twente fans. He became a cult figure due to his fighting spirit and no-nonsense attitude.
His passion for his club can cause him to go too far though, with one lowlight being his sending off against AZ Alkmaar. Douglas was banned for 6 games after punching Pontus Wernbloom, now at CSKA Moscow, and then pushing referee Ruud Bossen. The clashes between Douglas and Wernbloom promise much this season! He has picked up 42 yellow and 3 red cards in his Twente career, a poor disciplinary record. The bruiser’s game is based on aggression and tough tackling which, while effective at stifling attacking threats, can be risky.
Another plus point, other than his passion, is the great loyalty he displayed to Twente, claiming that he would not play for another club in the Netherlands. Some report that Douglas turned down all offers in January, hoping that Twente would offer him a new deal. Another theory is that he desperately wanted to represent the Dutch national side, and thus had to stay in Holland till the summer.
Douglas may be caught out by quick attackers, as he does not possess great pace, however his strength is a great attribute. Positional-wise, from what I have seen of him, he is intelligent. This would tend to cancel out his pace deficit against most strikers, as Douglas tends to be in the correct place at the right time.
As previously mentioned, Douglas is a threat from set pieces. Dynamo, a team with good crossers, could look to exploit this, using him as the pin-point for corners and free-kicks. He could also be used up front, late on in games, when Dynamo are losing. His touch is reasonably good and his strength is staggering. He will also be able to help Dynamo stop their increasingly leaky defence, which has already conceded 3 goals in 2 games this season. Two of those goals were conceded against Volga, who are regarded as relegation fodder.
Douglas will be able to communicate effectively with some of his teammates immediately. I am sure that ex-Eredivisie players at Dynamo will have picked up a bit of Dutch. Balázs Dzsudzsák must have learnt some Dutch in his time in the Netherlands. Otmann Bakkal, of course, is Dutch, so will be able to communicate with Douglas. It must be noted that Douglas managed to adapt quickly to the Netherlands, a strange place for a young Brazilian. That is very promising, showing us that he should have few problems in adapting to Russia.
Douglas is basically a better, much cheaper, Chris Samba. It seems strange to me that Anzhi did not openly show an interest in him. One thing is certain, Dynamo, in signing Douglas, have achieved a lot of bang for their buck. Sorry for the cliché, but it’s true, Douglas, on a free transfer, is great value…