Reinforcements, stabilisation and not letting anyone go…

The selección will play a friendly against Egypt, in Cairo, on the 26th March, and the AFA are also in talks with the FMF about a friendly against Mexico in February, to be played in Dubai. Domestically, the end of the championship – and the imminent re-opening of the European transfer windows – mean it’s time for teams to start thinking about hiring and firing. Independiente lead the way early on, whilst Huracán are hoping to unveil the successor to Ossie Ardiles as manager in the coming days.

Independiente are set to let forward Ismael Sosa, one of their more impressive performers in the promising first half of the Apertura, move to Dinamo Moscow for a fee of around US$6 million. This cash will free up enough for them to make moves for two foreigners – Chilean goal machine Humberto Suazo, from Mexican club Monterrey, and Colombia’s Freddy Grisales, already playing in Argentina for Colón. The latter apparently owns his own registration, which should simplify things no end with that particular transfer deal. El Rojo are reportedly very close indeed to landing Suazo’s signature, and hope to move in for Grisales on Thursday. Whether they hang on to Germán Denis or not, they’ll have a bit of a goal threat…

Carlos Babington at Huracán, meanwhile, is after another manager to fall out with in spectacular fashion, and this time he’s looking to promote from within. Defender Claudio Ubeda, having witnessed the cataclysmic arguments between Babington and first Antonio Mohamed, then Ossie Ardiles, in the last few months, astonishingly seems to want to have a go at managing under Babington himself. Babington told the press on Wednesday that he was ‘optimistic’ that Ubeda will, on Thursday, retire from playing in order to take the managerial reigns at El Globo. ‘He’s the ideal man to lead the squad,’ beamed the president known as El Inglés.

One club who all but have a new manager already are River Plate, with Diego Simeone reported by close associates to already be thinking of himself in that capacity. He’s talked in detail with River president José María Aguilar about his plans for the squad – hang on to players like Belluschi and Fernández, and encourage attacking talents old and new, from Ortega to Alexis Sánchez – and it’s looking more and more a mere matter of time before a contract is signed.

And newly-crowned champions Lanús may now face their biggest fight: keeping hold of as many as possible of the players who made that championship dream into a reality. The board have stated their policy ‘not to take the squad apart’, but are already having to contend with offers from richer leagues. Greek giants AEK Athens are preparing a bid for Agustín Pelletieri, whilst offers from Mexico for Tino Ribonetto and Marcos Aguirre have reportedly been turned down already. Maxi Velázquez could be in the sights of Sevilla in Spain, José Sand might be off to Deportivo La Coruña, and Diego Valeri is apparently interesting none other than Italian giants Juventus.

It’ll be a tricky job keeping hold of them, especially if some of those last rumours turn out to have some substance, but Lanús, run so sensibly for the last few years, will be prepared to listen to offers that are truly too good to be true, whilst wanting to keep a good core of the side for the Clausura. The perils of being champions at last – but of course, they wouldn’t swap it for anything…

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