River Plate finally complete deal for Chile International Paulo Díaz

It has been the saga of the transfer window but on Thursday evening River Plate finally completed the transfer of Paulo Díaz.

As Superliga clubs have busily going about their business over the past month, Copa Libertadores champions River Plate had done nothing except pursue Díaz and while Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli had rejected all overtures, the breakthrough eventually came.

River agreed to a transfer fee of $3,750,000 for 70% with Al-Ahli and Díaz then put pen to paper on a three-year deal with a release clause of €20 million.

A source of frustration for supporters and coach Marcelo Gallardo, who had requested only Díaz following the sale of utility player Camilo Mayada, failure to conclude the deal had threatened to create something of a cloud over the club. But progression in the Copa Libertadores and now the capture of the soon-to-be 25-year-old defender has provided River a timely lift ahead of the business end of their title defence.

River’s interest in Díaz goes back further than just this present window but it was made increasingly difficult once the defender departed San Lorenzo for Saudi Arabia in a deal worth close to $7 million.

A disappointing year with Al-Ahli didn’t prevent Díaz making three appearances for Chile at the 2019 Copa América and the attraction for River remains clear.

Yet to turn 25, Díaz has a number of prime years ahead of him and having spent two years in Bajo Flores with San Lorenzo the Chilean is familiar with Argentine top flight football and the Copa Libertadores.

Most importantly of all after losing the jack-of-all-trades Mayada to Mexican club San Luis, Díaz is comfortable in a variety of positions.

“I am known for playing in any position requested by the coaching staff and I am available to them,” Díaz told River Plate’s official site, explaining that this ability to ‘put out fires’ so to speak was the reason for his nickname ‘the fireman’ (Bombero).

“More than just versatile though I am a player who leaves everything out on the pitch. I don’t give up any ball as lost but in possession I am calm.”

Able to play across the back four in either full-back position or centrally with a wealth of experience, Díaz will play an important role and while it could be argued when Marcelo Gallardo has everyone fit, the back four is a settled unit, the option to have an international-class defender able to fill any position is of enormous benefit.

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