Saturday, 27 June 2009

Transfer Chat

Staying on? River's Diego Buonanotte

January was on the whole a quiet month in terms of Argentine talent moving to Europe with the one major transfer being midfielder Jésus Dátalo moving from Boca Juniors to Napoli for $8.3m. In the other direction Maxi Lopez escaped the Russian winter and joined Gremio on loan. This close season already looks a lot more hectic if the chatter is anything to go by. Maybe the agents are feeling the pinch. What follows is a far from complete breakdown of who's going where and who's being touted around with a view to a move, all compiled with the help of some exclusive sources (newspapers, websites, TV, radio). Remember: if it happens you read it here first............................
We'll start with a done deal in Europe, Javier Saviola (remember him??) has finally ended his Real Madrid bench-warming session and has moved to Benfica for 5m Euros. Back in Argentina: With just over a week to go before Huracán's title showdown with Vélez Sarsfield 20 year old playmaker and golden boy Javier Pastore may have so far escaped the attention of Maradona but has caught the eyes of Serie A side Palermo. Club president Maurizio Zamparini told El Grafico magazine 'Pastore is practically ours, all apart from the official seal, but we're waiting until the end of the Argentine championship'. All of which maybe news to Huracán, although this being Argentina the club may not have it all their own way in negotiations. In the murky world of 3rd party player ownership 45% of Pastore's contract is in the hands of private individuals whilst the remainder is with Huracán in addition Talleres de Cordoba are in line to receive 10% of any transfer fee. On this occasion the Palermo president's words may be just posturing.
Over to Avellaneda where Racing have celebrated avoiding the relegation play-offs by off loading 18 year old midfield dynamo Franco Zucculini to Bundesliga upstarts Hoffenheim for $6.7m where he's signed a 5 year deal. Still at La Academia defender José Shaffer returns to Europe to join up with compatriot Saviola at Benfica. Independiente's fantastically named goalkeeper Fabian Assmann (!) is rumoured to be interesting both Chelsea and Aston Villa although with 25 goals conceded in 11 games (including three 5-0 thrashings) the attention seems to have waned.
To the firesale at Boca Juniors where most of the current squad seem to be on the market following their failure to progress in the Copa Libertadores and current financial plight. General Manager Carlos Bianchi has recently taken a 50% pay cut to help balance the books. New coach Alfio Basile's first job will be to build a new side. Battling Colombian midfielder Fabián Vargas (29) has departed after almost 6 years and joined Spanish side Almeria on a 3 year deal. Onto some other potential movers, striker Rodrigo Palacio the owner of the worst rats-tail haircut in football may also be moving to La Liga, this time to Galicia with Deportivo La Coruna the deal by all accounts is done bar the signing. Fellow striker Lucas Viatri has been the subject of interest from Italian side Siena who are willing to pay upto $4.5m for him. Maybe only the mercurial Martin Palermo will be leading the line for Boca next season as Luciano Figueroa has ended his loan spell and will be returning to Genoa, although he's likely to be farmed out again but he's quashed any rumours of a return to River Plate.

With River Plate also having failed dismally both domestically and internationally in the last year you may expect the vultures to be gathering to pick-up the talent gracing El Monumental. With club president Aguilar up for re-election later in the year his two most prized assets could well be staying on at least for the time being. Diego Buonanotte, the latest 'next Diego' and the cause of much speculation about his future over the last 12 months has once again attracted more than a passing glance from teams such as Lazio and Benfica, together with unnamed French and Russian sides. The player has admitted that one day Europe is his ultimate goal but as it stands only a big offer and/or a President not wanting re-election would see him leave in the close season; although if he does exit it would certainly ease the financial worries of the club and the propaganda machine would swing into action. Colombian striker Radamel Falcao Garcia (23) who has been one of the few shining lights; according to reports this week he is on the verge of staying with River for upto 3 years although the reality is likely to be an additional 12 months.

Some others........Estudiantes have one foot in the Copa Libertadores final but that hasn't stopped goalkeeper Mariano Andújar joining Serie A's Catania on a 4 year contract. The newly capped international previously played for Sicilian rivals Palermo. San Lorenzo's striker Gonzalo Bergessio, another player owned by numerous investors may well join the boat to Europe with Porto showing interest.

So there you have it, I'll try to revisit this in a month with updates and apologies for getting it totally incorrect.

Hasta luego!