Lucas Robertone becomes the latest Vélez Sarsfield academy product to make the leap to Europe after the midfielder’s transfer to Almería was confirmed on Thursday.
The Spanish Segunda División side have paid €3.4 million in exchange for 50% of the rights to Robertone with an obligation to purchase an additional 30% as the 23-year-old put pen to paper on a deal until 2025.
Following the sales of Álvaro Barreal to Cincinnati FC and Braian Cufré to Mallorca, Robertone leaves another hole in Mauricio Pellegrini’s squad still hoping to push for a 2021 Copa Libertadores spot.
Making his debut as a nineteen year old in 2016, Robertone went on to make 73 appearances and during the tenure of Gabriel Heinze became a regular in the starting eleven.
An occasional goal scorer with twelve, Robertone breaks late into the penalty area and has a fine right-foot to either shoot from distance or deliver balls into the box. However his workrate to comply with the demands of Heinze’s intense press and maturity to play as part of a midfield three made him indispensable.
An attacking midfielder, Robertone is not a number ten in the traditional sense. Rather than sitting in behind the striker looking to exploit openings at the expense of any defensive duties, the 23-year-old is a more modern midfielder covering a large area of the pitch.
That is not to say that Robertone doesn’t possess the vision or passing ability of a playmaker. Three assists last season in sixteen starts, it is in the opposition half where the midfielder excels whether making runs into the channels, looking for space on the edge of the box or threading passes into the forwards.
At 23 with four seasons under his belt it is a good time for Robertone to move on and test himself. The Argentina under-23 doesn’t have the ceiling of Thiago Almada or Nicolás Domínguez, sold to Bologna last year, and Vélez may feel that this transfer window represents the best value to sell.
Almería get a player capable of further development who can aid their promotion bid and Robertone can make a push for the 2021 Olympic squad with a strong season in Spain.
Mauricio Pellegrini has added Cristian Tarragona and Juan Martín Lucero to offset the loss of centre-forward Maxi Romero but may need to do further business to replace Robertone and Cufré unless the likes of academy products Francisco Ortega or Facundo Caséres step up.