Two transfer stories have dominated the Argentine headlines more than any others today. Andrés D’Alessandro, following four-and-a-half years in Europe for Wolfsburg, Portsmouth and Real Zaragoza, may soon be on his way back to River Plate, whilst a young Argentine who’s never played professionally in his homeland is making a move from Chile to Chelsea.
Chelsea’s new signing is Franco Di Santo, an 18-year-old striker who has until now been playing for Chilean club Audax Italiano. As of Tuesday evening an initial fee of £3.5 million (US$7 million) had been agreed between the clubs, with only a fee should Di Santo be sold to another club in the future remaining to be settled. Di Santo played for the youth sides at Godoy Cruz in Mendoza, made the short hop across the Andes to sign professional papers with Audax Italiano in 2004, at the age of 15. He played for Argentina in last January’s Sudamericana Sub-20 championship, but after helping the side to qualify for the Under 20 World Cup, was left out of the squad for the tournament in Canada. He’ll sign a five-year contract with Chelsea.
D’Alessandro, meanwhile, could be set to wave out of the window to Di Santo as the two pass each other on transatlantic flights going in opposite directions. The playmaker’s signing was reportedly requested by Diego Simeone before the latter signed his new contract as River manager, and D’Alessandro met Real Zaragoza sporting director Miguel Pardeza, and asked to be sent back to River on loan for six months, for the chance to play more regularly than he has been doing at Zaragoza (where when he’s played he’s normally been exiled to the wings), and force himself back into the thoughts of Alfio Basile for the national side. San Lorenzo are also interested in securing D’Alessandro’s signature.