Marcos Acuña may have said his goodbyes to Racing Club and already been training with his new teammates at Sporting Clube de Portugal for the best part of a week but it wasn’t until today that the Portuguese giants confirmed the €9.6 million transfer.
In a statement on the club website, Sporting welcomed their latest signing and stated that the 25-year-old has signed a four-year contract with the option of an additional one year, including a staggering €60 million release clause.
Whether Acuña will prove this to be a shrewd piece of business remains to be seen but for anyone that has watched El Huevo in Argentina over the past 18 months, there will be little doubt.
The Neuquén-native has been scintillating and despite his less glamorous route to the top has established himself as one of the best players in Argentina’s Primera and broken into the Argentina squad already.
With nine goals and a league-high thirteen assists last season, there are few players that can claim to have such an impact in the final third and a move to Europe is throughly deserved.
It’s not been an easy road for Acuña, who was rejected by several of the Buenos Aires clubs as a youngster before eventually finding a way into Ferro Carril Oeste’s system. Waking at 5am to travel to training on the train and being robbed on three occasions, it would have been easy for the young midfielder to give up and return to Patagonia.
Eventually finding his place in the first team, Acuña went on to play 117 times for Ferro and while his record of only five goals in that time is less than impressive, his 23 assists were testament to his burgeoning creativity.
With Ferro in dire financial trouble, the sale of Acuña to Racing in 2014 for around five million pesos went someway to paying off the cost of bankruptcy but also proved to be a catalyst in his career sparking his rise. A first season in Avelleneda couldn’t have gone better as Racing ended a 13-year wait for honours and lifted the Transición title with Acuña a vital part of Diego Cocca’s side.
Pace and trickery in abundance, Acuña is a direct and dynamic presence in the midfield, who is as comfortable with the ball at his feet and committing defenders as he is spying opportunities for a pass or a cross.
Can Acuña make the next step up? Time will tell, but he has not been found wanting at any stage of his career so far and has been the most creative player in Argentina by some distance this season.