Sheffield Utd lead Mariners chief Tobin to Sao Paulo visit

Tobin was given a rare insight into Sao Paolo's truly one of a kind facilities in Brazil's most populous city by virtue of the Mariners' relationship with English Championship club Sheffield United, who have formalised links with both the Mariners and Sao Paolo in recent times.

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While in Sao Paolo, Tobin was treated to a viewing of the club's staggering youth academy and senior squad structures, which over the years has produced an astounding number of world class players including no less than Brazilian national team icons Adriano, Cafu, Juninho and Kaka - the world's most expensive footballer.

The Sao Paolo youth development network is commonly regarded as the best in South America, if not the world, and continues to produce wave after wave of exceptional footballers, many of whom dominate the big leagues of Europe, South America and Asia at present.

"The quality on show during my stay, on and off pitch, really has to be seen to be believed," said Tobin.

"It's quite phenomenal just how well resourced Sao Paolo FC is by way of facilities and infrastructure and this translates to a talent pool at their disposal that would be the envy of any professional football club in the world.

"The trip was hugely beneficial in terms of further developing the relationship between the Mariners, Sheffield United and Sao Paolo and we will certainly explore these links in greater depth in the future - both long and short term.

"The prospect of Sao Paolo sending one or more of their best youngsters to the Hyundai A-League to link with the Mariners is one that appeals to them, as it provides the player with a chance to develop their game in an environment different to what they would be typically used to, as well as providing us with a top-class player capable of contributing most positively to our season.

"This is just one of the initiatives that were talked about between the clubs that were so kindly invited to experience Sao Paolo's facilities and we will absolutely keep the lines of communication open between all that belong to our worldwide network in the lead up to the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season."

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