Quite often, Palermo purchase young players who make their way onto the squad only to be loaned out and never to return. This doesn’t appear to be one of those times.
Carlos Apna Embalo arrived in Sicily back in July 2013 as a 19 year old kid heralding from Guinea-Bissau, a small country on the coast of West Africa. The youngster arrived from Portuguese side Chaves, then playing in the country’s second division.
Embalo’s first season in Rosanero resulted in no appearances with the first team in Serie B, but he performed well for the Primavera. The following season, with the club’s promotion to Serie A, Embalo wouldn’t be given much of a chance at Palermo, so the Rosanero loaned him out.
The first loan spell at Carpi was unsuccessful as Embalo only managed three appearances in Serie B. He didn’t even last the entire season with the Biancorossi as the club decided to move him from Carpi to Lecce during the winter window. Dropping down another tier allowed the winger to have more space as he racked up 11 appearances – three starts and eight as a substitute. He ended that year in promising fashion with an assist in each of the final two matches he played.
Last season, another loan spell was on the cards, this time with Serie B perennials Brescia. Under coach Rocco Boscaglia, Embalo thrived and truly became a formidable player. Playing primarily on the wing, Embalo appeared in 40 of the club’s 42 matches in Serie B with 35 coming as a starter. Not only was he a staple in the starting XI, he was a dominant and pivotal player for the Rondinelle racking up five goals and a fantastic 11 assists throughout the season. His performances drew the attention of clubs beyond Italy – as both Anderlecht and Lyon were interested in purchasing him.
As always, the worry was that another Palermo loanee would never make it back to Sicily and be sold for a profit without ever getting a proper shot with the club. Just as rumors started heating up regarding Embalo’s future away from the Sicilian side, the club did the right thing and renewed the 21 year old’s contract until 2020. Comments from Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini and Sporting Director Rino Foschi also suggested that he would play a key role at the club next season – or at the very least, be given an opportunity to carve out a role with the first team.
Recently, Embalo’s agent Beppe Accardi spoke about the renewal with Palermo and his thoughts on the player. Here’s what Accardi had to say:
“Carlos is happy and satisfied. The fact he’s returning to Palermo is a little like he’s coming home seeing as the Rosanero were his first team: from Guinea-Bissau, he arrived directly here. He thanks the president and Rino Foschi for the faith they’re giving him. The arrival of Foschi and the president’s conviction to focus on him made the difference for the renewal. Palermo had a request from Anderlecht, a team that is set to play the preliminary round of the Champions League. Surely the Foschi and the president’s intentions were decisive.
In calcio, everything depends on the players, but I truly think the Palermo will focus on him. If Carlos Embalo attracted the intention of important clubs at the European level, it means that the Rosanero are making him a crown jewel. The lad is a fundamental player of Palermo and he can become a prized piece on the market in the years to come. The Rosanero have made a great move. Embalo could become one of those players that Palermo puts on the market and returns big money.
Embalo can play as a winger and behind the forwards as a second striker. The formation isn’t a problem. A quality lad like him can play in many areas, like Rooney does with th England national team where he plays as a midfielder. Lyon’s interest in January, and that of other clubs in June, are a testimony to the fact that Embalo has something important.”
Whenever an agent speaks, it almost always ends with a discussion about money, no? For what it’s worth, Accardi’s words are pleasing but his most important statement regarded the player’s need to carve out a role at Palermo himself. Thankfully, it at least seems like he’ll be afforded that opportunity where so many others before him have not had (see: Accursio Bentivegna from last season).
Embalo also had a brief statement about his decision to renew with the Rosanero:
“I chose Palermo because it’s the right team for me. I’m ready for this new adventure. My preferred role is as a winger, but I can play other roles up top.”
Few words, but a huge chance. Let’s hope Palermo has found itself another solid player and perhaps more in Carlos Embalo.