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.