Marcelo Gallardo made a huge show of faith in the ability of young goalkeeper Augusto Batalla when Marcelo Barovero left River Plate one year ago and while a couple of high-profile errors have made it a difficult season for the 21-year-old, there remains an excellent keeper underneath.
The critics will certainly point to the moments of misjudgement against Boca and San Lorenzo but under the spotlight, it isn’t the easiest place to take your first steps as a pro. Gallardo still rates Batalla highly but has brought in the experienced Germán Lux to take the pressure and mentor the youngster.
El Globo may be deflated and provided little cheer to supporters of late but that hasn’t prevented Alejandro Romero Gamarra from continuing his development and becoming an important figure in Huracán’sstarting eleven.
The diminutive 22-year-old hasn’t quite had the impact that many had hoped when the AFA named him as the most promising youngster in Argentine football in 2013, but over the past year, Kaku has established himself a regular Primera performer. Full of pace and trickery, Romero Gamarra is able to play across the attack behind a striker and despite the club’s struggles looks set for a future away from Parque Patricios.
Despite making only seven first team appearances this season, Juan Foyth has been at the centre of a major tug-of-war this summer with Tottenham, Roma and Paris Saint-Germain all battling for the 19-year-old’s signature.
The handful of performances in an Estudiantes shirt and a few more for the Argentina under-20s provide all the evidence for the level of demand. Few centre backs at such an age, with such limited experience, read the game as well as Foyth or have the confidence to carry the ball out from the back. A classy, ball playing defender with the potential to play at the very top, even for around €10 million, Foyth could prove to be a bargain.
San Lorenzo have conducted some fine business in the transfer window but none better than the addition of all-action midfielder Alexis Castro. In a desperately poor Tigre side last season, the 22-year-old shone and it was little surprise that his performances caught the eye.
Robust and hard-working in his defensive duties but eager to push forward and support the attack, Castro is that valuable commodity in Argentine football, sitting neatly between a ‘five’ and a ‘ten’. With five goals to his name, including an exquisite outside of the boot lob against Vélez, the midfielder should prove to be an important part of Diego Aguirre’s plans and has the versatility to fulfil a variety of roles.
One need only look at Colón’s defensive record and know which player has been the most valuable part of that unit to recognise the ability Germán Conti has as a centre back. The lanky defender made his debut back in 2013 before helping El Sabalero secure promotion back to the top flight and has since been a regular in the side’s back line.
Despite his tall, ungainly frame, Conti has been has been consistently sound in either a back-three or back-four, showing great leadership and organisational qualities. No player made more clearances in the Primera last season and after fending off interest from the grandes over the past year or so, Europe now beckons.
The rest of the countdown is coming soon so keep your eyes peeled.