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Gustavo Scarpa: Nottingham Forest’s forgotten Brazilian can play his way into contention

Nottingham Forest player Gustavo Scarpa

One of the worst kept secrets at Nottingham Forest was the January arrival of Palmeiras’ Gustavo Scarpa. Having agreed the deal back in December 2022, Brazil’s 2022 Player of the Year decided to trade in his tropical conditions for the cold banks of the Trent. A photoshoot on the hallow turf of the City Ground was a tough introduction to his new environment, but one in which he was relishing with the chance to play in the Premier League. The Brazilian certainly wasn’t here on vacation.

Even with his enthusiasm, it hasn’t been a memorable season for the 29-year-old. Despite highs and lows off the field, which included the birth of his child before a bizarre £1 million cryptocurrency scam back in Brazil, Scarpa certainly wouldn’t have anticipated his first year in the East Midlands to play out this way.

It certainly hasn’t been all doom and gloom, however, and away from his current calf injury which has kept him out of action since March, Scarpa showed promising signs in the Garibaldi. Two assists on his debut in a friendly against Valencia showed his quality from set pieces as he continued to improve his match fitness ready for the Premier League.

Early signs were promising for Brazilian

In fact, his cameo league debut appearance in what is currently Forest’s only away win of the season at Southampton, (who only have Crystal Palace left on the road), immediately caught the attention of intrigued Reds fans.

His ability to spot a pass was evident to see from the get-go, spraying long, accurate balls across St Mary’s turf was something which was evidently missing at the City Ground.

Forest have lacked a promising set piece taker not only this season but for many years gone by.

Even when Forest were embarrassed away to Blackpool in the FA Cup, Gustavo Scarpa was the only individual to come out of the game with any creditability.

A team thrown together by Steve Cooper looked lost, but Scarpa stood out when on the ball and was able to work his way into the starting eleven in home wins against Wolves in the Carabao Cup and Leicester in the league.

Since dropping out of the squad, fellow Brazilian Renan Lodi has taken over corner duty of late, but Scarpa’s ability has been missed – the signing of Felipe will also have him itching to get back on the pitch knowing he has the ultimate target man when standing over a dead ball.

Unfamiliar position for Forest midfielder

With Morgan Gibbs-White excelling in the attacking midfield role, the Brazilian saw most of his opportunities from the left flank, a role he hasn’t had to occupy often during his career. Not being able to break into his preferred role saw Scarpa’s game time limited.

Both January Brazilian signings, Felipe and Gustavo Scarpa, were unused subs in Forest’s 1-0 home win over Leeds. Since that victory, Scarpa has featured for a total of 76 minutes across three matches, before his calf injury has all but ended his first season in England.

A worrying statistic for Scarpa is that he has yet to find the back of the net at his current club, having last scored a penalty for Palmeiras back in November 2022.

This will be the first time since his debut year in 2014 for Fluminense that Scarpa has finished a season without scoring.

Despite this, Scarpa was never one to challenge for the golden boot. Playing behind the striker for Palmeiras, he finished with a total of 26 assists in the Brasileiro across 2021 and 2022 combined.

Forest fans have at least seen a snippet of his ability to pick a pass – an asset fan favourite Danilo can certainly couch for.

Coming into a team which even Cooper will admit wasn’t settled at the time, and with numerous injuries across the squad, Scarpa hasn’t been able to experience enough time in the team in which to truly showcase his talent.

Too early to write Scarpa's future off

With Forest beginning to find their feet as they fight for Premier League survival, Scarpa’s presence in and around the matchday squad has arguably been missed, with the likes of Andre Ayew and Sam Surridge unable to step up and prove their worth from the bench.

His infectious personality instantly won many fans over, which is why it’s been a frustrating five months not being able to pay them back on the pitch. Although Forest aren’t out of the woods just yet, they are on course for Premier League survival after a recent victory against Southampton and point at Stamford Bridge has offered more than hope.

If relegation is avoided, Cooper and his team will undoubtedly be looking to clear out any deadwood as they look to build on a solid base for next season. However, Gustavo Scarpa certainly hasn’t come to England for a short stay, and he won’t want his opportunity to end with just ten appearances to his name in the Garibaldi.

Question marks will remain over his head due to his lack of offering to date, but the proof is in the Palmeiras pudding with Scarpa’s former teammate Danilo, and although Palmeiras’ fans would welcome home Scarpa with open arms, it isn’t his time to walk away from the Premier League just yet.


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