Sevilla’s Argentinean connection continues this summer with one of the signings of the off-season with Guido Pizarro making his midfield debut in Europe
Monchi, the miraculous sporting director, might be gone but Sevilla still know a bargain when they see one if the €6 million summer capture of Guido Pizarro is anything to go by.
“It was the right moment (to leave). The board listened to my request as they knew it was one of the goals in my career (to play in Europe) and I thank them for allowing me to do so,” the 27-year-old midfielder said when Mexican club Tigres agreed the deal that saw the Argentina international switch the Estadio Universitario for the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
However, the truth might be that Pizarro was ready to take the plunge into European waters all the way back in 2013 when his status as one of Argentina’s brightest, young midfield talents was already evident.
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) July 10, 2017
After making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2009, Pizarro developed into a vital part of the Lanús side, during a period of great success for the club. El Granate had won their first Primera title the previous year but in the four that Pizarro featured, Lanús were able to cement themselves as Copa Libertadores regulars and title contenders.
Understandably the tall, powerful, dynamic presence in central midfield still in his early twenties attracted interest and were it not for problems obtaining the paperwork, Pizarro would have left for Fiorentina.
However, the Viola’s misfortune provided the opportunity for Tigres to secure something of a transfer coup and bring the 23-year-old to Liga MX. A European club may have been unable to close a deal but Lanús were still financially outgunned by the affluent Mexican side.
Under Brazilian coach Ricardo Ferretti, Tigres became one of the dominant forces in Mexican football and within Pizarro’s first year at the club, the Argentinian had picked up his first major honours, lifting the Copa MX.
Two league titles followed in the Apertura 2015 and 2016 and were it for a little more luck, Tigres could have made history. Pizarro and his teammates were narrowly beaten by River Plate in the Copa Libertadores final, where they were a couple of missed chances away from becoming the first Mexican winners and two years running, finished runners-up to Mexican rivals in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Pizarro’s ball-winning and energy from deep has been vital and as a consistent performer over four years, this move to Europe has been thoroughly deserved.
It has also not gone unnoticed by Argentina as Gerardo Martino named Pizarro among his preliminary squad for the Copa America Centenario before Edgardo Bauza handed the midfielder his debut against Bolivia in March.
The recent involvement with the Argentina squad has seen Pizarro restrictively viewed by many as nothing more than a ‘number five’, whose function is purely to break up possession and contribute little going forward but the 27-year-old has certainly shown more than that during his club career.
Sevilla, at least seem aware of this, and having sold Vicente Iborra to Leicester City for €15 million moved swiftly to bring in a slightly younger and cheaper alternative in Pizarro.
Guido ‘El Conde’ (The Count) adds to Sevilla’s increasingly Argentinian influence with Ever Banega, Joaquin Correa, Gabriel Mercado, Walter Montoya and Nicolas Pareja all at the club under new manager Eduardo Berizzo.
Jorge Sampaoli may have departed Andalusia for La Albiceleste but his eye will still be on the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, particularly as Banega looks set to be one of his preferred midfield options; if Pizarro can impress alongside his new teammate, a regular place in the Argentina squad looks highly likely.