Managerial merry-go-round, and strikers staying put

Following their away goals defeat to LDU Quito in the Copa Libertadores semi-final, and their dreadful campaign in domestic competition in Mexico, Club América are after a manager, and former River Plate, San Lorenzo and… um… Oxford United boss Ramón Díaz looks set to take charge with Miguel Angel Russo likely to replace him in Boedo following San Lorenzo’s own Libertadores defeat to LDU, who have a lot to answer for. River and Boca Juniors, meanwhile, have both had speculation about their star forwards in recent days, but both confirmed on Wednesday that neither Diego Buonanotte nor Rodrigo Palacio are going anywhere.

Díaz, who left San Lorenzo at the start of last week, looks set to be replaced by Miguel Angel Russo, the former Vélez Sársfield and Boca boss. Club president Rafael Savino began discussing the name of Díaz’s successor after their quarter-final Copa Libertadores exit – if Russo says no, Leonardo Astrada and Américo Gallego are the next down the list – in a Buenos Aires bar on the corners of Calles (streets) Entre Ríos and, fittingly, México, which is where Russo’s predecessor Díaz seems to be off to (the country, not the street).

There’s not a lot to say about the rumours that Díaz is about to take over at América, except that the Mexican media are reporting it as a done deal, and with Televisa, the largest media company in Latin America, owning several of Mexico’s biggest football clubs – including América themselves – that probably means it’s a fairly safe bet. Díaz will be unveiled, according to the reports, on Friday after club president Michel Bauer travelled to Buenos Aires on Tuesday to discuss his contract.

Potentially good news for América, then, and there’s some very good news indeed for fans of Argentina’s two biggest clubs. Diego Buonanotte, the best player and top scorer of River’s championship-winning side, has expressed his wish to remain in Núñez for the time being, and the club are happy to accomodate him, whilst Rodrigo Palacio isn’t budging from Boca Juniors – for now.

Buonanotte was struggling to get into River’s reserve team a little over a year ago, but his improvement since an amazing display in the Apertura superclásico has been phenomenal, and he’s come on leaps and bounds in particular since Diego Simeone took over at the helm of the club. 12 months ago, a loan spell at Olimpo de Bahía Blanca was being discussed. Now, what does River vice-president Mario Israel have to say about El Enano‘s place in the team? ‘Buonanotte isn’t for sale. He’s staying at River.’ He’ll surely be in Europe sooner or later – but the emphasis, for now, is on ‘later’.

Boca meanwhile have rejected an offer from Lazio for €14 million, an astronomical sum for a South American club to turn down, and Palacio hasn’t expressed any disappointment at all – he’s told reporters that if he leaves Argentina, it will be to play in Spain, not in Italy. Palacio – who’s on an equally high US$1 million-per-season contract, is valued by Boca more highly than the fee Lazio offered, particularly after the transfers in the last year-and-a-half of Fernando Gago (to Real Madrid, US$27m) and Ever Banega (to Valencia, US$26m). The fact that he’s not as good as either of those players isn’t putting them off insisting that, unless a significantly higher offer comes in, Palacio isn’t going anywhere.

7 thoughts on “Managerial merry-go-round, and strikers staying put

  1. I can’t understand why no European club has taken a gamble on Russo, his record in Argentina is outstanding. A title with Velez, a Libertadores with Boca (who must have been pretty low in morale after the 2006 Apertura collapse under Lavolpe), and he also got Estudiantes promoted in the 90s.
    It will be difficult keeping all members of the striking ‘dream team’ happy, though. Bernie Romeo looks the one who is expendable at this moment, they should keep Bergessio and probably Silvera, while Menseguez is versatile and can play in different positions.
    Is this Tinelli guy going to spend more money in the transfer window?

  2. I thought was Russo was a class act at Boca and was unhappy to see him go. My guess is that being a class act does not hold him in good stead with alot of folks in the Argentine futbol world.:)

  3. A little harsh on the world of Argentine football I think, Johnny. I doubt that Estudiantes, Vélez, Boca and now San Lorenzo would offer him jobs on the basis that he seems like a bit of a bastard…

  4. Hi Sam. Well yes, maybe overly harsh is right and I am sure Russo will coach again, and most likely in Argentina. That said, I do subscribe to the Seba school of thought that there alot of things rotten in Denmark……and Argentina. I am a big fan regardless and will continue to be whether I am in Argentina or not. And, to make sure nobody thinks I am some ugly yank being overly critical of Argentina sports, I barely follow sports in the USA anymore due to the increasing “corporatization” there. Give me sports like they were back in the day.

  5. I thought you didn’t rate Gago all that highly, Sam? Which would suggest you don’t think much of Palacio either.

    But then Gago had a great second half of the season for Real Madrid – he was one of their key players and his level of performance rarely dipped. He seldom gives the ball away, though he rarely plays a killer pass either. Though at Madrid that hardly matters with the likes of Sneider and Guti just in front of him. As for Banega, he picked a bad time to join Valencia.

    I would love to see how Palacio would do in Europe. Hes an unusual striker and I can’t think of many over here with a similar style. David Villa might be the closest in the way he drops deep, runs into channels, is adept at running at defences but can score tap-ins too. Villa is better than Palacio though, for me. I just hope he doesn’t sign for Barca, where he’ll inevitably be expected to shine immediately and dropped if he doesn’t. Better to go to a smaller club – Villareal or Santander, maybe, adjust to the different pace away from the spotlight..

  6. I don’t like Gago an awful lot, David, it’s true. That being said, he’s been good for Madrid in the second half of this season as you say (he was rubbish when I went to see them back in October, mind), and I think Schuster’s done the right thing in playing him with another more solid dedicated defensive midfielder alongside him. With the selección he’s now got Mascherano next to him, and this is the best way to improve him in my opinion, because when he was playing as the ‘cinco’ for Boca he went walkies up the pitch far too often. Wearing the 5 but trying to play as a 10, so to speak.

    And Palacio’s a decent striker but I’m not convinced he’d do too well in Europe. He doesn’t score anywhere near as many as he should for Boca, and when you look at the clubs he’s been linked with in the last 12 months – Arsenal, Barcelona and Madrid all spring to mind – well, would he be an improvement on any of their first-choice strikers, really?

    As you say, a ‘smaller’ club would be better for him at first (although bear in mind Villarreal will be in the Champions League group stages), or perhaps a bigger club in a ‘smaller’ league such as Portugal, the Netherlands or France. But time will tell, because he’ll surely get his shot at Europe at some point.

  7. With all respect to Palacio, I don’t think he’d be an impact player at all at the huge clubs he’s been linked to. He should indeed score more goals at Boca, and tho he’s still young, I didn’t see him taking on and beating players much during the Clausura.

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