Few players are more revered in South America than Juan Roman Riquelme.
He was never the hardest working, nor the fittest or the most disciplined, but Riquelme was what football is all about on a continent that loves the game like no other. The Argentina legend was a man who played for the fun of it, a wonderfully gifted and mercurial playmaker who transcended tactics and gameplans.
So no wonder the so-called ‘new Riquelme’ has suitors from all over the world. According to AS, Tottenham Hotspur are willing to trigger the £23 million release clause in the contract of Boca Juniors starlet Augustin Almendra though they will face competition from PSG, Juventus, Valencia, Napoli, Porto and Premier League rivals Manchester City.
But whoever wins the race for one of Argentina’s most coveted talents, this ongoing transfer saga looks set to end in Barcelona hanging their heads in disappointment.
AS claims that the La Liga champions were the first to enquire about Almendra after a friendly clash against Boca in August 2018. Barca failed to get the deal done, however, and succeeded only in bringing him to the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Boca will be powerless to prevent Almendra walking away if Tottenham trigger his release clause and the chance to work under compatriot Mauricio Pochettino, who has turned the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen into world renowned talents, will undoubtedly appeal.
Whatever happens, Barcelona could be left to rue missing their chance.
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