Ever Banega has done a U-turn, Big Willy has gone down south and Zabaleta has one last outing with the Hammers – Argentineans are on the move this summer
The vast majority of players may still be on their holidays but that hasn’t stopped the European summer transfer window trundling on, fueled by all the gossip and rumour that silly season brings with it. Cutting through the farcical and far-fetched, there have already been a number of big deals and here are the top five concerning Argentinians in Europe.
Inter to Sevilla – €9 million
Ever Banega was one of the bargains of last summer as the back-to-back Europa League winner switched Sevilla for Inter Milan on a free transfer. However, one year on and the Argentina international has sealed a return to Andalusia in a deal reportedly worth €9 million.
Despite making twenty Serie A appearances for Inter last season, scoring six and assisting a further six, it was an underwhelming campaign for Banega and the Nerazzurri as the Milan giants finished seventh.
Since breaking into the Boca Junors side at eighteen, Banega’s quality has been clear but something of a self-destructive streak had hindered the playmaker reaching his potential. However, under Unai Emery at Sevilla, Banega truly found his place and was vital to the club’s historic Europa League triumphs. After finishing fourth under Jorge Sampaoli in La Liga last term, another Argentinian, Eduardo Berrizo is now at the helm and a return to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan seems a perfect fit.
Sevilla have confirmed the signing of Ever Banega from Inter Milan on a three-year deal, for an undisclosed fee. pic.twitter.com/P93khKHV8f
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) July 3, 2017
Manchester City to Chelsea – Free
There had been talk of a possible return to Boca Juniors for Willy Caballero but the 35-year-old goalkeeper has swapped the Manchester City bench for playing second-fiddle to Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea after three years at the Etihad.
Pep Guardiola’s problems in goal last season with Claudio Bravo provided Caballero with the chance to make 26 appearances for City but also prompted the €40 million signing of Ederson in this window. With the veteran’s contract expired, it was clear that Caballero’s future lay elsewhere and with Chelsea selling Asmir Begovic to Bournemouth, a new backup role at one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs opened up.
Welcome to Chelsea, Willy Caballero! https://t.co/GGFudYqdu3
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 1, 2017
Villarreal to AC Milan – €18 million
It’s been a busy summer at the San Siro as AC Milan’s new Chinese owners have splashed the cash in an effort to re-establish the Rossoneri as the top of Italian football. After months of speculation, Mateo Musacchio was first through the door, signing from Villarreal for a fee believed to be around €18 million.
The 26-year-old brought to an end an eight-year stay with the Yellow Submarine, having signed for the Spanish club from River Plate in 2009 after only a handful of senior appearances. Since then, Musacchio has proved himself one of the top central defenders in Europe and were it not for a number of bad injuries, a big money move may have come to fruition earlier.
Vincenzo Montella will be hoping that is all in the past so that his new-look defence can built around the Argentinian and if it is, expect Musacchio to significantly add to his meagre six appearances for La Albiceleste.
Roma to Zenit St. Petersburg – €23 million (could rise to €27M)
It may not be the move that many expected for Leandro Paredes but Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg have confirmed the transfer of Roma’s classy Argentinian midfielder in a deal that could be worth €27 million.
Paredes was high on new manager Roberto Mancini’s wish-list and after weeks of speculation Zenit reached an agreement for the 23-year-old to sign a four-year deal. The Russians appear to have something of an Argentine fix, if the rumours are true, given that River Plate striker Sebastian Driussi is expected to finalise a €20 million move, amid reports of bids for Boca Juniors’ forward Cristian Pavon and Estudiantes defender Juan Foyth.
Paredes played 27 times in Serie A last season, fifteen as a starter, scoring three goals but it’s his vision and passing ability from deep that set him aside from the vast majority of number fives and earned him an Argentina debut against Singapore. The hope will be that switching Italy for Russia won’t harm his future international chances.
Manchester City to West Ham United – Free
The word legend is bandied around in football with wanton abandon these days but there will be few Manchester City supporters who will disagree with its use when describing Pablo Zabaleta. After more than 300 appearances since signing from Espanyol in 2008, two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups, the 32-year-old bid farewell to the Etihad this summer.
West Ham United, desperate to improve on a disappointing season last time out, snapped up the free agent and now Zabaleta will look to impart some of his leadership to Slaven Bilic’s side.
Entering the final stage of his career, there is no doubt that the buccaneering performances of Zabaleta are in decline, and after more than 50 appearances for Argentina, perhaps the former San Lorenzo defender won’t be provided many more opportunities to add to this but having signed a two-year deal with the Hammers, Zaba still has plenty to offer.