While Sergio Romero has failed to hold down a regular playing role at club level for four years, it hasn’t prevented the 29-year-old racking up the games for Argentina and becoming the most capped goalkeeper in the history of La Albiceleste. However, Edgardo Bauza has now cast doubt over how much longer this can continue and with Boca Juniors feverishly looking for a new number one, the Buenos Aires giants are hoping this could help in persuading ‘Chiquito’ to swap Old Trafford for La Bombonera.
“Romero was the first choice. He’s the Argentina goalkeeper but at the time [earlier in the window] he didn’t want to return to this country. I don’t know if that has changed now Bauza has said he needs to start,” Boca president Daniel Angelici optimistically told Radio Rivadavia.
Since the shoulder injury to Guillermo Sara, Boca have made no secret in their desire to add a goalkeeper and take the pressure of young Atlético Madrid prospect Axel Werner but so far all efforts to bring Mariano Andújar to the club have been thwarted by Estudiantes.
Andújar has been one of the national team’s squad goalkeepers over the past couple of years and Boca’s inability to bring him to the club in the past month has been a cause of frustration.
“Boca makes serious proposals. If the other teams do not want to transfer players, we can not do anything. Every time we reached the number that they [Estudiantes] requested, they asked for something more,” Angelici explained.
However, should they be able to capture Andújar’s Albiceleste superior all would be forgotten.
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) January 18, 2017
Despite a less than convincing start, Romero is proving a decent backup to Manchester United’s undisputed number one, David de Gea and having previously made it clear that he had no intention of returning to Argentina, and if he did it would be for boyhood club Racing, pressure from Edgardo Bauza might change that.
Or at least that is what Angelici and Boca are hoping.
“If you are not playing for your club it is difficult to remain in the national side,” warned the national team boss this week. While there is undoubted truth in this statement, the same could have been said about Sergio Romero prior to even the 2014 World Cup.
Alejandro Sabella, Gerardo Martino and until now Edgardo Bauza all kept faith in Romero, and instead focused on his level of performance for Argentina and the fact that he hasn’t made many errors during that time. This has seen the likes of Willy Caballero previously and more recently Gerónimo Rulli overlooked but seems like a typically short-sighted view of things.
If Argentina are waiting for an error by Romero, eventually it will come, and it will be at that moment when people begin to question why a perennial substitute was still considered the nation’s number one. It will then also lead to a knee jerk change and a new goalkeeper coming into the side under increased scrutiny.
To Bauza’s credit, he appears (in his words at least) to be wanting to address this and it may force Romero’s hand and open the door for Boca.
Boca are now hoping to sound out the Argentina international and Manchester United over the possibility of a loan move until June, which would see the 29-year-old playing every week but presumably not be too attractive to Jose Mourinho midway through a Premier League campaign.
Bauza pays great attention to the Argentine Primera and would be satisfied to see Romero gaining the rhythm that he spoke of and Boca would obviously have an excellent short term solution before hopefully bringing Willy Caballero back to the club from Manchester City.
The number of goalkeepers linked to Boca this month continues to grow but Romero would be the most ambitious. United and even the player may not be sold on the move but Bauza would be absolutely correct to look at alternatives if his number one remains a bench warmer.