In these hours, the president of Argentinos Juniors, Christian Malaspinawill travel to São Paulo to negotiate with the Corinthians leadership, headed by his peer Duilio Monteiro Alves, the sale of Faust Vera for a figure that would be around 6 million dollars. Although the Belgian Genk also wanted it, the captain of the Bugone of the best-performing players in the Professional League, seems to be turning the compass towards Brazil, a destination that in recent years has become a very tempting option for many Argentine soccer players.
Vera is not the only one preparing the trip to those lands. Banfield is negotiating with San Pablo the sale for around 8 million dollars of Giuliano Galoppo, a player that Boca and River wanted. And Godoy Cruz is already beginning to say goodbye to the captain and figure of him, Martin Ojeda (9 goals and 10 assists in 2022), since Botafogo is willing to pay 4.5 million dollars (plus 800,000 for goals) for 80% of his record.
If these transfers materialize, Vera, Galoppo and Ojeda will join a migratory current that has intensified in the last two months. Palmeiras, the two-time champion of the Copa Libertadores, took the man from Corrientes Jose Manuel Lopezthe great appearance of Lanús, and the Uruguayan Michael Merentiel, scorer for Defense and Justice in the last Professional League Cup. Cristian Pavón, who ended his relationship with Boca on June 30, joined Atlético Mineiro, directed by Antonio Mohamed and in which they work Ignatius Fernandez Y Matias Zaracho. Fortaleza, penultimate in the Brasileirão, stayed with Emanuel Britezfrom Unión, and Red Bull Bragantino opted for the young Kevin Lomonacowho had barely added 19 games in the First Division between Platense and Lanús.
José López poses with the shirt of Palmeiras, his new club. (Photo: Instagram Palmeiras)
Until now, There are 20 Argentine soccer players who play in teams that compete in the Brasileirão. They are almost 25% of the 81 foreigners who play in the five-time world champion tournament (followed by the Uruguayans -14- and the Colombians -13-). The amount may surprise some, but that number remains fairly constant from a decade ago, when the opportunities for compatriots began to multiply.
In addition to those two dozen in the top flight, there are five other footballers in teams from the Second Division, which this season has giants like Cruzeiro, Gremio and Vasco da Gama. Among them are Walter Kannemann from Entre Ríos, two-time Copa Libertadores champion (with San Lorenzo and Gremio) and National Team footballer during the Lionel Scaloni cycle, and missionary Martín Benítez, champion of the South American Cup with Independiente in 2017.
The numbers show that the Brazilian market seduces young people like Lomónaco (he is 20 years old) already experienced as Silvio Romero (33); soccer players from second-tier teams such as Brítez (Unión) or Thomas Neck (Atlético Tucumán) as well as other so-called “greats” such as Ignacio Fernández (River) or Matías Zaracho (Racing). And also to some who chose him to return after his European experiences as Emiliano Rigoni (Saint Paul), Gabriel Market (International) or Jonathan Calleri (Saint Paul).
Ignacio Fernández left River in February 2021 to play for Atlético Mineiro. (Photo: Washington Alves / Reuters)
Doors have also been opened more easily for coaches. In a contest in which seven of the 20 technicians are foreigners, two of them are Argentine: Anthony Mohamedwho leads Atlético Mineiro, and John Paul Vojvoda, who has directed Fortaleza for 15 months. In recent years, Jorge Sampaoli (Santos and Atlético Mineiro), Ariel Holan (Santos), Hernán Crespo (San Pablo) and Eduardo Coudet (International) have also had the experience, with more or less success, in addition to the Uruguayan Alexander Medina, who He had a fleeting stint at Internacional after his work at Talleres and before returning to Vélez.
When looking for explanations, there are sporting reasons that justify this trend. The Brasileirão, considered by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) as the best league on the planet in 2021, has significantly raised its level and their teams are imposing their hegemony in the latest editions of the continental tournaments. This season, five Brazilian teams will play the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores and four have accessed the same instance of the South American.
But neither can it be ignored that the clubs of one of the 12 largest economies on the planet (according to data from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund) manage budgets that work like powerful hooks. Part of the money comes from the commercialization of transmission rights, which each institution can negotiate on its own. According to a report by the consulting firm Ernst & Young, the 20 participants of the Brasileirão generated 330 million dollars for that concept in 2021.
Juan Pablo Vojvoda has directed Fortaleza since May 2021. (Photo: Gustavo Garello / AP)
There are also large contributions from local companies and foreign investors. Red Bull Bragantino is managed by the Austrian energy drinks firm, Botafogo was acquired by the American tycoon John Textor -also a shareholder of Olympique de Lyon and the English Crystal Palace- and the City Football Group (owner of Manchester City, among others) was negotiating a few months ago, although without success, the purchase of Atlético Mineiro. This does not prevent the institutions from amassing losses as terrifying as or more than those of their Argentine peers. São Paulo, for example, must face a debt of 128 million dollars.
Beyond that, it is not easy for Argentine clubs to compete these days with Brazilian bills. It is difficult for them to retain their footballers. How feasible was it for Lanús to reject the 10 million dollars that Palmeiras offered him for 70% of José López’s file? And it is also difficult for them to bid when dreaming of a caliber booster.
A few weeks ago, Boca was excited about hiring Arturo Vidal. The Chilean ended up signing an 18-month contract with Flamengo, which will pay him 3.6 million euros for his services. “One thing is to want to have them and another is to be able to pay them,” recognized Juan Román Riquelme when asked about the potential arrivals of Vidal and the Uruguayan Edinson Cavani.
Boca was precisely the club that for seven years and systematically in each pass market was mentioned as a possible destination for the Peruvian Paolo Guerrero. During this period, the striker wore the shirts of Corinthians, Flamengo and Internacional. At 38 years old and after nine months inactive, the scorer did not return to his country nor did he move to Argentina to close his career: on Wednesday he was presented as a reinforcement of the modest Avaí from Florianópolis.