D’Alessandro moves closer

Two transfers involving Argentine players are moving towards a definition at the moment, the more solid-looking being Andrés D’Alessandro’s transfer from Real Zaragoza in Spain to work under his former manager Ramón Díaz with San Lorenzo. Ezequiel Garay, the Racing Santander defender, could be on his way to Barcelona – or Lyon, or Real Madrid. And it’s been a good day in the cups for Julio Cruz and Ever Banega.

San Lorenzo president Rafael Savino, no less, is the man who’s flown over to Zaragoza to represent the club in their face-to-face dealings with D’Alessandro’s current employers. Savino will meet with Agapito Iglesias, one of Zaragoza’s board, to discuss the transfer on Thursday, following telephone discussions on Wednesday. San Lorenzo’s initial offer of €3.5 million need to be improved on if they’re going to match Zaragoza’s valuation of the player at €4 million, but they’ll be hoping to beat the Spaniards down.

Defender Jonathan Bottinelli has been mentioned as a possible makeweight in the deal, although it’s understood he wouldn’t be required to transfer immediately. D’Alessandro, questioned by the press, had this to say: ‘All I can tell you is that I hope [the talks] are panning out well, and I’m looking forward to going.’ His contract with San Lorenzo is already agreed – a transfer fee between the clubs is expected to be finalised in the coming days, which given the imminent closure of the transfer window, it will need to be…

Ezequiel Garay, meanwhile, could be joining Barcelona in June, after the Catalán giants were reported by El Periodico as already making preperations to bring the 21-year-old in to replace 36-year-old Frenchman Lilian Thuram come the end of the season. Barça won’t have it all their own way in adding to their Argentine connection, though – great rivals Real Madrid are also interested, as are Lyon in France.

Cruz scored from the penalty spot for Inter as they beat Juventus 3-2 in the Stadio delle Alpi in the second leg of their Coppa Italia quarter-final, and unusually was the only Argentine in their starting lineup – Javier Zanetti and Santiago Solari both came on later. The first leg finished 2-2, so Inter advance to the semi-final after a 5-4 aggregate win. In Spain, meanwhile, Ever Banega’s Valencia lost 3-2 to Atlético de Madrid in the Vicente Calderón, but go through to the semi-final of the Copa del Rey on away goals, having won the first leg 1-0 in the Mestalla. Sergio Agüero scored for the locals, and Maxi Rodríguez also started, but in vain.

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