Leeds United-linked attacker Matias Zaracho has finally put an end to speculation over his future with a bargain £4.5 million move to Atletico Mineiro, according to UOL.
Those who have followed the story of this fleet-footed Argentine closely over the summer may remember that, when scouts were flocking to Buenos Aires earlier in 2020, Zaracho’s price tag was much higher than US$6 million.
Tuttosport claimed that, amid further interest from Italian giants AC Milan, Racing Club were demanding £23 million for one of the most exciting young talents in South America.
But what on earth has happened in the past eight months for Zaracho’s market value to shrink so rapidly?
It turns out the ongoing financial crisis has played its part with even the biggest South American clubs hit hard in the pocket.
And once the European transfer window closed on 5 October, Racing knew the chance to sell Zaracho for a substantial sum had gone up in smoke.
Hence Atletico Mineiro have been able to sneak through the back door and purchase the once-capped Albiceleste international for a fee most Premier League and Serie A clubs consider ‘pocket change’.
Globo Esporte reports Jorge Sampaoli, the man who famously replaced Marcelo Bielsa as head of the Chilean national team and led them to Copa America glory in 2015, was instrumental in the deal that saw Zaracho join his Atletico Mineiro squad.
“Very excited, happy to be in this club and very eager to start,” Zaracho told ESPN.
Sampaoli’s gain, then, may be his old mentor’s loss.
Argentine publication Doble Amarillo reported Bielsa wanted Leeds to sign Zaracho once promotion was secured. However, the sudden availability of Spain star Rodrigo Moreno meant all other options quickly fell by the wayside.
Leeds United summer transfers 2020
Wolves (£16 million)
Lorient (£5 million)
Manchester City (Loan)
Wigan (£1 million)
Valencia (£26 million)
Freiburg (£13 million)
Feyenoord (£1 million)
Real Sociedad (£18 million)
Rennes (£21 million)