It’s a quiet one now, as we fall further and further into the ‘gravity of the World Cup’ (© Bostero Forever) and, for the next week and a half at least, there’s not likely to be very much of any real interest going on save speculation on Diego Maradona’s likely lineup from behind the green barrier that’s been erected to stop the press spying on Argentina’s World Cup preparations. Some transfer talk has been keeping the domestic press occupied however, to add a little more substance to a day otherwise notable for River Plate president Daniel Passarella’s bizarre statement that, if he was managing Argentina today, he’d have taken River’s Rogelio Funes Mori to the World Cup. One significant signing has been made, though: Argentine champions Argentinos Juniors are to unveil Pedro Troglio, formerly of Paraguay’s Cerro Porteño, as their new manager.
Boca Juniors are said to be seriously interesting Villarreal midfielder Damián Escudero, formerly of Vélez Sarsfield and the scorer of my favourite goal from the 2008 Clausura (go right to the bottom of this post if you’d like to refresh your memory). The midfielder’s spent the last season at Villarreal, and having played as an enganche at Vélez he already knows what’s needed to do well in the position in Argentina – indeed, Boca were interested in him last year as well, before his move to Spain came about. Negotiations are already said to be advancing well, and given Escudero’s position it could be that he’s being approached as an insurance policy if Juan Román Riquelme doesn’t agree a contract extension with the club.
River Plate, meanwhile, have announced their intention to sign a striker, having finally decided that waiting for David Trezeguet to secure his release from Juventus might make them look a bit silly if he doesn’t go through with it. To that end, the 19-year-old Colombian Marcos Pérez, who was Gimnasia La Plata’s saviour during the Clausura and – most notably – in the relegation playoff against Atlético Rafaela, when he scored twice, is the next target for the Núñez club. Half of Pérez’s registration is owned by a business group known as Full Play, who are tempted by the idea of loaning him to River since Gimnasia look unlikely to be able to afford the US$2.5 million it would cost them to buy out his contract. Olé claim that at present the negotiations are set to be successful, and will only fall through if an offer from abroad arrives for the player. Both Villarreal and England’s Wigan Athletic are watching the player, but have yet to make a concrete offer.
And last but by no means least, the new manager of the champions: Pedro Troglio will finally be confirmed as Claudio Borghi’s successor at Argentinos Juniors after Bichi left to join Boca Juniors in the week following the club’s coronation. ‘I know absolutely everything about Argentinos, because I was able to watch all the matches from Paraguay, and I want all the members of this championship-winning squad to stay here,’ he told the press. He admitted that the directors had already told him, though, that they’ll have to sell. ‘They’ve promised me that if we sell a player, we’ll be bringing in one of the same level. I’ve got a lot of Paraguayans I can recommend but of course we’re not going to turn the club into a Paraguayan colony,’ he joked. Troglio comes highly referenced: Julio Comparada, who he worked under at Independiente, and Borghi himself both recommended him for the role to Argentinos president Luis Segura. All the same, Borghi will be a tough act to follow…
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