It’s an appalling pun I know. But the manager himself is a good one, according to Héctor García Cuervo, the administrator who chucked Blanquiceleste out on their ears a few weeks ago. The manager who (eventually) saved Racing from relegation will continue in his post next year. Meanwhile, Lanús youngster Lautaro Acosta has joined Sevilla, and at River Plate, Diego Simeone and Ariel Ortega have had their long-anticipated reunion, and no blood was spilled!
Sevilla unveiled their new forward in the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán on Friday, having paid US$9 million for his services. Acosta, whose initial settling into the Andalusian city will be hampered by his participation in the Olympic Games in Beijing, was in confident mood in front of the press, and was determined to make his own distinctive mark on La Liga. ‘I’ve heard a mountain of comparisons with Messi, Aimar and Agüero, but I’ve got my own style and I believe you can see that on the pitch,’ he told reporters. ‘The money Sevilla have played isn’t on my account, but the club’s. I’m going to try and demonstrate what I’m worth.’
Sevilla’s sporting director enthused about Acosta’s game because, ‘he’s very offensive-minded. He can play on both wings, as a striker or a withdrawn forward. He’s got speed and skill. We believe we’ve got [a player with] exactly the qualities wanted by the first-team manager.’ So, not much a buildup then.
Back in the south of Buenos Aires, Llop is finally all set to continue as Racing manager for another year, as his original contract had spelled out. Following Blanquiceleste’s ejection from the ownership and day-to-day running of the club a few weeks ago, Llop’s contract had to be re-examined by auditor García Cuerva, who decided to allow him to continue with some minor tweaks to the conditions of the contract he’d originally signed with Blanquiceleste, and told the press: ‘I wanted to ratify it as it was, but it depended on other things too.’
Before being confirmed in charge for the following season, Llop was already in confident mood, and has reportedly already told the new board who he hopes the club can bring in to reinforce the squad for the coming season, bound to be a complicated one for Racing who still have a lowly Promedio standing to take into the new campaign. The list of players Llop wants (presumably he doesn’t expect to get all of them) includes former River goalkeeper Germán Lux, Ariel Garcé, Cristián Nasuti, Iván Moreno y Fabianesi, Gabriel Hauche and Luciano Leguizamón among others.
One player not on Llop’s list is Ariel Ortega. In fact El Burrito wouldn’t be on Diego Simeone’s wish-list, but following José María Aguilar’s decision last week to keep him, Simeone is stuck with him. The manager met with his playmaker on Friday to clear the air after previous bad blood between them, and club president Aguilar said afterwards that the meeting had gone well. ‘The conclusion was to think about what’s best for River and to enjoy a good co-operative atmosphere with the rest of the squad,’ he told reporters.
Aguilar also went on to answer questions about River’s aims in this winter’s transfer market, saying that River are ‘out of the market.’ He did, however, comment on the recent deal with Spanish club Villarreal, which gives them 50% of the registrations of Matías Abelairas, Gustavo Cabral and four youth-team players. ‘It’s all finalised and it’s going to open the doors for future negotiations,’ Aguilar finished.