Ramon Diaz has returned from his holiday in Miami and is said to be frustrated at the lack of activity by River Plate following the final fixture in the Torneo Final. As President, Daniel Passarella travels Europe looking to off-load players and raise funds they have also had disappointment with moves coming the opposite direction. Diaz has made no secret of the reinforcements that he requires at El Monumental as the squad looks very short in certain areas….
With the purse strings tightened at River Passarella has looked to make a quick profit from assets, Eder Alvarez Balanta and Rogelio Funes-Mori. Colombian, Alvarez Balanta has just signed his contract and only played 9 games for the club but reports suggest that mega-rich, Monaco are willing to pay 14 million Euros for his signature. Funes Mori is linked with a move to Bundesliga outfit, Bayer Leverkusen, for a substantially less 5 million but would still provide some funds for Diaz to strengthen.
One area that has obviously disappointed Diaz is the failure to land, Malaga centre-back, Martin Demichelis. Former River player and Argentina International, Demichelis had previously suggested he was open to a move back to River but the move is now dead in the water with Demichelis opting to stay in Europe. “I was surprised about Demichelis, much was made of his intentions to come, and we talked a lot with him, we gave him full guarantees and even explained what we had planned,” lamented Diaz. Now River must look elsewhere.
So far the arrivals have been Carlos Carbonero, Ican Pillud and Jonathan Fabbro but this week Diaz promises more.
One area where River are obviously short is in the goal scoring department. With Funes Mori being hawked around Europe and David Trezeguet not named in the squad for the forthcoming season it leaves just Carlos Luna and youngster, Federico Andrade. Hardly the strike force to challenge for honours.
Passarella hopes that negotiations with Porto can see Juan Manuel Iturbe’s loan continued as the pacy wide man showed some glimpses of his potential and scored some crucial goals but he too is not the central figure with whom River would rely on to fire them to glory. For this reason, selling first has taken such importance but with the money who would River look at?
The first name was Teo Gutierrez, the Colombian ex-Racing, striker, who initially sounded open to the idea but has since gone back on his comments slightly and now seems happy to remain in Mexico at Cruz Azul. This would have been a very good move for River but looks unlikely now but the other names mentioned also make interesting reading.
Lucas Barrios, the Paraguayan, now playing in China is a potential target as he appears to have slipped off the radar since his spell with Borussia Dortmund but for the financial outlay may be a bit of a risk if it is dependent on him finding the form that made him so dangerous when playing in Europe. Another option could be Franco Di Santo, a free agent following Wigan’s relegation from the Premier League. Never prolific in England’s top flight but still only 24 years of age and a good all round game as his physical presence offers a focal point to the attack. The final name on this list is Lisandro Lopez, the Argentine international striker, who is leaving Lyon this summer.
It will be an interesting week to see who River bring in….