Archubi arrives

Diego Simeone’s plans for River Plate’s pre-season continued as he’d been hoping on Thursday, when Rodrigo Archubi flew into Buenos Aires and put pen to paper on a contract that could see his loan move become permanent at the season’s end. Meanwhile, the true identity of Simeone’s first-choice XI remains a secret, but River’s open training session in Mar del Plata gave one or two interesting pointers…

As reported here a few days ago, Archubi’s move to River has been ridiculously complicated. It took Israeli ‘super agent’ Pini Zahavi to buy his registration from his former club, Olympiakos, on behalf of Polish side Polonia Warsaw. Archubi’s been loaned from them to River for the duration of the Clausura – with an option for River to make the deal a permanent transfer later on.

Archubi will travel on Friday to Mar del Plata, where he’ll train with the members of the squad who aren’t going to Salta for the same day’s Torneo de Verano match against Racing. He’ll also train on Sunday, when the rest of the squad have a free day, to get match-fit as soon as possible.

The exact composition of Simeone’s envisaged first XI has remained a secret thus far, of course, and the new manager himself has, when questioned about when we’ll see it for the first time, always given the same reply: ‘The 10th of February, against Gimnasia de Jujuy [River’s first fixture of the Clausura].’ On Thursday, though, River’s practice session included one mini-game of forty minutes completely uninterrupted by the normal breaks for tactical advice and pointers from the manager and coaches. Some sections of the Argentine press have taken this as a pointer that the manager’s vision could be emerging…

Of course, everyone knows River’s first serious game will come before the Clausura kick-off, because at the end of next week the first superclásico of 2008 arrives in Mar del Plata. The indications are that Simeone’s going to be opting for an short-passing game (‘None of the long balls, we’re going to open up the pitch…’) with four – count ’em – forwards; Sebastián Abreu up front and Ariel Ortega, Marco Rubén and Alexis Sánchez just behind. Think a similar formation to the selección during the 2006 World Cup.

Juan Pablo Carrizo is likely to be the first-choice goalkeeper, going on Thursday’s training session, whilst one-time captain Pablo Ferrari doesn’t have a guaranteed place amongst the XI. The side to play Racing on Friday night will once again be young and largely made up of reserves, but Simeone’s Plan A is beginning to make itself known…

5 thoughts on “Archubi arrives

  1. Great info Sam, thanks. I guess Carrizo is not headed back to Lazio, or anywhere else, anytime soon. I for one am glad of that.

  2. He’s being kept at River until the passport business is all sorted, Justin. For some reason (I can’t think why), the Italian authorities have got into their heads that Lazio and / or Carrizo’s representatives might not have been entirely honest about his supposed rights to Italian citizenship…

  3. Murt – Falcao’s still very much part of the side. He didn’t train in Mardel yesterday because he was one of the players who have travelled to Salta for the match against Racing (tonight), where he’s expected to start.

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