Finding young Argentinean talent for the Albiceleste is more important than ever before – here’s five moving to Europe hoping to make some waves
Football in Argentina is under the microscope after the World Cup failure and a youth system that has seen the conveyor belt of talent to the senior side grind to a virtual halt. However, the nation’s top flight is still attracting European scouts and this window has seen five exciting prospects make the leap.
Lautaro Martínez – Inter
The brightest of those talents is unquestionably Lautaro Martínez and despite costing Inter around $25 million, the 20-year-old has all the tools to not only light up Serie A this season but make an immediate impact for a new-look Argentina.
13 goals in 21 Superliga appearances, five in six Copa Libertadores games and an international debut in March, Martínez may not have gone to Russia but is earmarked as a central part of La Albiceleste’s future.
— Inter (@Inter_en) July 25, 2018
Much of that will depend on how he progresses in Italy but a powerful forward capable of scoring all types of goals and with the technique to turn provider (already evident in preseason), El Toro should excite Inter supporters.
Ignacio Pussetto – Udinese
An outstanding campaign at Huracán not only fired El Globo into the Copa Libertadores but alerted many clubs to the talents of Ignacio Pussetto and after months of speculation, Udinese sealed a $10 million move.
Signed from Atlético de Rafaela in 2016 for $1.4 million, Pussetto has most often been used on the right of the attack but with Huracán lacking goals, his versatility has been invaluable. Nine goals and five assists last season, the 22-year-old was the primary source of goals and his pace and physicality provided a flexibility going forward.
Santiago Cáseres – Villarreal
Javier Mascherano played his final game for Argentina as Kylian Mbappe tore Jorge Sampaoli’s side apart in Russia but Villarreal believe they might have El Jefecito’s successor in Santiago Cáseres.
— Villarreal CF (@VillarrealCF) July 16, 2018
The 21-year-old has been a regular in the Vélez Sarsfield side under Gabriel Heinze and as El Fortín climbed well away from relegation, Cáseres’ ball-winning in midfield was vital.
Averaging four tackles per game, the academy product was a firm foundation from which Heinze was able to build on and his busy, all-action style provided protection to the defence as well as a first pass from which to spring attacks from.
Nicolás González – VfB Stuttgart
Diego Maradona, Fernando Redondo and Esteban Cambiasso are just a few of the names to have emerged from Argentinos Juniors’ famous academy but it is Nicolás González who is now the most expensive sale in the club’s history.
— VfB Stuttgart (@VfB) July 26, 2018
Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart paid around $9.9 million for the 20-year-old and have already seen flashes of his potential during preseason. Scorer of the goal that sealed Argentinos Juniors’ promotion back to the top flight in 2016, seven goals during a debut campaign in the top flight alerted many to González’s talents.
Germán Conti – Benfica
Cash-strapped clubs and a struggling economy mean there are bargains to be had shopping in Argentina but there might be no better deal than Benfica picking up Germán Conti for just $4 million.
PRIMER GOL de Germán Conti con Benfica ??? pic.twitter.com/vJA6JcXi8A
— Identidad Sabalera (@ColonSF1905) July 18, 2018
While many young players move without having gained much senior experience, Conti has racked up well over 100 appearances, captained Colón and been the cornerstone of one of the Superliga’s best defences for a couple of years. Strong in the air, a consistent performer, decent positionally and a good leader, the 23-year-old is ready for the step up.