In those ocassions, papers don’t publish anything that it is not related to gossip, rumours and versions surrounding football’s top players and their moves from one European team to the other or those who make the giant quality leap from a South American outfit to one of the Old Continent's more powerful clubs.
I thought we could take a quick look at the Argentine players that are involved in this conversations and try and break down the impact of their probable moves to one team or another.
I’ll try and make a Top10 (in descending order from less to most important) of the top Argentines in the market:
10. Mariano GONZALEZ:
Speedy, as he is called because of his pace and after sharing the same surname with that famous cartoon of a Mexican mouse, belongs to Palermo (Italy). He was sent on loan to Serie A Champions, Inter, for which he played a few games without claiming a regular first team spot. He is on his way back to Palermo, but Porto FC (two time defending champions of Portugal) is interested in the talented Argentine midfielder. If the deal goes through, Mariano will join friend Lisandro LOPEZ with who he formed an exciting combination when they both played for Racing Club in Argentina.
IMPACT: Mariano will probably have the task to help fill up the void that Lucho GONZALEZ will leave in Porto’s midfield. Lucho is further down this list as he is one of the hot players in this year’s market. Brazilian ANDERSON have already left Porto (to join Manchester United) so Speedy will surely play more minutes and eventually become a key member of the team.
9. Rodrigo PALACIO:
The Jewel is believed to be heading to FC Barcelona. Boca Juniors vice-president, Pedro POMPILIO, said that both clubs came to an agreement and that the striker should join Barcelona in July. In a complicated situation, only PALACIO’s 32,5% belong to Boca Juniors, so the club will have to agree a fee together with other clubs such as Huracán de Tres Arroyos and Banfield as well as agent Juan PALADINO who own the rest of the striker’s rights.
IMPACT: I don’t think PALACIO will be a starter if he is to join Barça. Could have a tough time trying to adapt to a new league and could struggle to get enough chances. I think if it comes through, this deal will not benefit PALACIO immediately.
8. Oscar USTARI:
At the moment of writing, it appears that Independiente’s goalkeeper will move to Villarreal for a fee of around 6 million Euros.
Wanted by Manchester United, FC Barcelona, Mallorca, Zaragoza, Lazio and Chelsea, the Yellow Submarine might have just pipped all the competition to this exciting young keeper that will probably fight for the title of best Argentine number 1 of La Liga next season with ABBONDANZIERI and Leo FRANCO.
IMPACT: This will surely boost USTARI’s chances to become Argentina’s first-choice goalkeeper in the build-up for the next World Cup. ABBONDANZIERI is not getting any younger and play at a high level competition like La Liga will only improve USTARI. A great move if it becomes a reality.
7. Mauro ZARATE:
Poised to shine in the upcoming Canada 2007 Youth World Cup, this very talented forward is a target of two-time defending UEFA Cup champions, Sevilla.
ZARATE is also rumoured to be in the radar of FC Barcelona and Cruz Azul (Mexico).
IMPACT: We are talking of another great appearance in the mould of SAVIOLA, MESSI, TEVEZ. That is fast, short and with a knack for scoring. Barcelona will be too big of a leap for him. Cruz Azul is not glamourous enough compared to Sevilla or any Spanish side. So I think he could fit right in if he arrives at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. Another one to look for the future, starting in this year’s Youth World Cup.
6. Gabriel MILITO:
The only reason why he is behind five players here is because this summer is busier than the previous years in which the Argentines were rather quiet. But after a great season with Zaragoza and with international caps coming his way, Gabriel MILITO became an obsession for more than one big club in Europe. Juventus want to make a return to Serie A in style and could spend around 16 million Euros in the curly haired central defender.
FC Barcelona will also try and capture him and give him the pleasure to get revenge of Real Madrid, a club that when Gabriel went there to pass a medical said that his knee was ruined and that he could never play football again. As a return, Gaby has been outstanding everytime he faced Real Madrid playing for Zaragoza. Will he get a chance to play Spain’s biggest derby wearing the famous Blaugrana shirt?
IMPACT: Wherever he decides (or destiny takes him) to play, he will become a key player. None of these two big clubs, Juventus and FC Barcelona, will be too big for him.
5. Lucho GONZALEZ:
He is wanted everywhere! After helping Porto win their second consecutive league title in Portugal, this Argentina midfielder attracted clubs from everywhere in Europe. The most interested in him are Lyon. Tiago and Alou DIARRA left the French multiple champions and they will be looking for players to strengthen their midfield.
But Italian champions Inter Milan and Villarreal are also possible destinations for Lucho. Porto will only set Lucho free if the offer matches their 20 million Euros release clause.
IMPACT: Personally, I would love to see Lucho moving to Lyon. I don’t know why, but I think that club could be a perfect match for him and maybe this time around they will be able to achieve success in Europe just as they do in France.
Inter and Villarreal will also mean a progress in Lucho’s career. With all due respect to Porto, playing in France, Italy or Spain will be seen as a step forward.
4. Gabriel HEINZE:
You thought HEINZE would have topped this list? Think again! He is only in fourth position despited clubs like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona fighting for the right to sign him. It all looks white for HEINZE as Roberto CARLOS has already left Real Madrid to continue his career in Turkey, playing for Fenerbahce. The Spanish press is all over this and some sources are saying it is a done deal.
IMPACT: Another big club in Gabriel’s career. I’m concerned as whether he will be able to fill the void left by Roberto CARLOS after the Brazilian played 11 years at the Bernabeu. Not an easy crowd to please for a defender. Real supporters are not that much into tough-tackling players. They prefer classy players with a fine touch and Gabriel is not one of those. However, if he is given enough chances, I think he can consolidate and conquer the tough Bernabeu crowd.
3. Diego MILITO:
Zaragoza are believed to have rejected a 16 million Euros offer from Juventus. For a long time now, FC Barcelona have declared their interest in Gabriel’s brother and it will be very tough for La Romareda’s outfit to keep this Pichichi contender at the club.
IMPACT: Diego have scored at will wherever he played in the past. Racing Club, Genoa and currently Zaragoza. I think the time has come for him to move to a big club and show he can become a +20-goals-per-season striker. To play in a big club like Barça or Juventus will only help his chances of becoming a feature of the Argentina attacking line for years to come.
2. Javier SAVIOLA:
A few months ago, I’ve published what Spanish newspaper MARCA said was a done deal: “SAVIOLA TO REAL MADRID”. It turned out to be that there is still a lot of water to run under the bridge before we know where is the Little Rabbit going.
Real Zaragoza (where childhood friend Andrés D’ALESSANDRO –just signed a contract with the club- and former River Plate team-mate Pablo AIMAR are stars) is also a possible destination. As well as Juventus, a team who seem to be interested in EVERY Argentine in the market.
IMPACT: No matter where he goes, HE WILL SCORE GOALS. That is a fact. Just as Diego MILITO, SAVIOLA has been a success wherever he played: River Plate, FC Barcelona (I don’t know why they don’t keep him in the team), Monaco, Sevilla…you name it. He always scores. A move to Zaragoza will be fun to see and I think that club is a more suitable place for SAVIOLA to go than Real Madrid.
1. Carlos TEVEZ:
No doubts: The darling of the market. There are no clubs in the World that couldn’t benefit from having a player like TEVEZ. Is there a better way to please your club’s supporters than by signing TEVEZ?
First, lets start with the list of teams that are/were and will be after the Apache’s signature:
And I’m sure there were more. Not to mention West Ham’s ambition to keep him for another season. He is one of the most expensive players in the World right now. That could keep him out of Chelsea’s reach as there have been versions that indicated the Stamford Brigde club will not look into high-profile signings this time around.
IMPACT: Carlitos will make any supporter of any team happy. The way he plays and gives 100% in every action is just sensational. That comes together with an incredible talent, pace and strenght that all fit together into a rather small body.
The only problem I see is if he joins Chelsea. The competition for places could be very fierce and Carlitos could see his playing time reduced.
Liverpool, Inter and Real Madrid (in that order) sound like better options for TEVEZ who will, whatever his destination is, shine again in 2007/2008.
What is your favourite of this group of players and where do you want to see him playing next season?
Will you add a player to this list?