Spain’s reign atop international football has come to an unceremonious end earlier this week, in no small part due to Edu Vargas.
In the 19th minute of Chile’s now famous encounter with La Furia Roja on Wednesday, the diminutive striker gathered Alexis Sanchez’s square ball on the edge of the six yard box, eluded Iker Casillas and slotted home a strike that sent the streets of Santiago into raptures.
Some 71 minutes and an insurance goal from Charles Aranguiz later, the World Cup title-holders crashed out of the competition, with Vargas’ early effort the killer blow.
But despite his heroics in South America against a Spain side that had won three major tournaments in a row, owners Napoli are reportedly looking to sell him.
Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio has maintained that Rafael Benitez doesn’t see the Chilean as part of the club’s future and is willing to entertain offers for as little as €10 million.
In fact, the last time Vargas even pulled on a Napoli shirt was in December 2012. He arrived at the San Paolo as an exciting 22-year-old prospect in January of the same year, but after just 272 goalless minutes of Serie A football, was sent on a one-year loan to Brazilian outfit Germio in January 2013.
And instead of returning to southern Italy this past winter, Vargas was again farmed out by Napoli. This time around to Valencia, where he tallied a respectable five goals and four assists between La Liga and Europa League commitments.
The positive side of the situation is that if the 24-year-old is indeed not in Benitez’s plans, he should have plenty of interest by the time his World Cup adventure comes to an end.
Outside of his historic strike against Spain, the pay forward has been an influential force in the Chile attack. And with Jorge Sampaoli’s side already qualified for the round of 16, he’ll be given an extended run to put himself in the shop window.
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Things may not have worked out for Vargas with the Partenopei but like other World Cup players looking for a new home this summer, Brazil 2014 has given him the chance to showcase himself.
What’s in store for Vargas next season is not yet clear, but it’s a decent bet that in the coming months, there will be at least a few suitors drawn towards the striker who scored the goal that toppled Spain’s dynasty.