The unveiling

Simeone Millonario

Somehow the announcement of a new River manager always seems to be met with slightly more fanfare than at other clubs. Perhaps because River’s fans have a reputation for being Argentina’s most difficult to please, perhaps because the board are amongst the least competent so there’s an always an element of who’ll last longer, them or the coach. Anyway, today Diego Simeone is to be finally unveiled. And one of the club’s former players might be moving to pastures new…

He’ll sign a contract for one year at the press conference due to take place around in around 45 minutes’ time as I type, with no details other than the duration so far revealed. And he’ll have a big task ahead of him, because he’ll be expected to revitalise River’s side in at least as good a fashion as he managed with Estudiantes when he took over for the 2006 Apertura – which they went on to win. Fernando Belluschi is thought to be at the centre of his plans, so no doubt the board’s next task is going to be keeping him out of the clutches of a number of European clubs claimed to be interested…

One ex-River player now making his way in Europe might be set to move ‘up’ a league in January. Reports are surfacing that Luís ‘Lucho‘ González, Porto’s captain and star player for the last couple of years, could soon be on his way to Juan Román Riquelme’s former club, Villarreal. The Spaniards are determined to get their man to the point where they’ve reportedly agreed that if the deal can’t go through straight away, they’re prepared to take him at the end of the season – and the fee being bandied around is €18 million.

Should Lucho cross the border to the more visible (and better) Spanish league, the media in the rest of Europe might finally begin to see him for the player he is. He’ll be reunited with former River manager Manuel Pellegrini, as well as three Argentines already in Villarreal’s squad: Gonzalo Rodríguez, Fabricio Fuentes and the nationalised Mexican Guillermo Franco.

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