Leicester City have completed the signing of Brazil U23 winger Tetê on loan from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk. The loan runs through 1 July and represents and exciting, if unduly complicated, bit of business by the Foxes.
Who is Tetê?
Mateus Cardoso Lemos Martins, who is known as Tetê, is a 22-year-old winger who has spent this campaign on loan at Lyon in Ligue Un. He’s most often deployed on the right, where he can cut in and use his preferred left boot to good effect. He’s capable of playing anywhere across the front line and he’s almost as good with his right foot as his left, making him an extremely versatile player who can cause trouble in almost any area on the pitch.
Is he any good?
Don’t take my word for it. Let’s take a look at what Alex Barker, the vaunted Euro Expert, has to say?
Here it is…
I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about Tetê to Leicester
This is a game changing move for them, one of the smartest signings of the window pic.twitter.com/IhtE7kQlIj
— ℝ (@EuroExpert_) January 29, 2023
Thank you, Alex. We always appreciate your work.
I really like this signing, and he just makes me even more excited about it. Tetê is the complete package; he does everything you want from a right-sided attacker. This includes defensive contributions, so there’s a good chance he’ll get plenty of chances to shine Ünder Rodgers.
How does he compare to Mahrez?
He’s a totally different player. I continue to love our departed Algerian wizard, who was capable of the most audacious feats of footballing skill I’ve ever seen from a City player. Tetê is more direct and more complete: He’s better in the air, he’s probably faster in full flight, and, as mentioned, he will break up opponents’ attacks. One thing they have in common is extremely clever movement off the ball, something that Leicester don’t do well at all.
You said it was “complicated”…
Yes, about that: The first hurdle was that Tetê was on a season-long loan at Lyon, so we had to get that cut short. The other, larger issue is that Shahktar are a Ukrainian side, and there is literally nothing about Ukraine that isn’t complicated these days. The domestic leagues have been suspended since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and FIFA suspended the contracts of every player in the league. This meant that a permanent transfer was not possible even if that had been the Foxes’ desire.
Is this the reason for the “maybe” in the sub-headline?
It is! As we have seen with Ademola Lookman, a lot can happen between bringing in a player on loan and signing them to a permanent deal. As far as we know, there is no option to buy in this loan and it probably would not be possible to include one given all of the complications. If City are relegated, it seems unlikely that Tetê would want to stay (and we’d have bigger problems than trying to tie him down anyway). If he plays extremely well, he could attract the wrong sort of attention and wind up the 197th player under contract at Chelsea or something.
So should we be happy?
Let’s ask Marcus Aurelius:
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
I’ll take that as “yes.” This is an absolutely brilliant addition who will make Leicester City a much better club immediately. Let’s enjoy seeing him play for the next four months. The quality he brings to the club is immense, and he addresses a problem of balance we’ve had for years. The future is not guaranteed; let’s live in the present and appreciate it.