That time of year is yet again upon, only this time around with a bit of a twist. Usually the months of June and July, in the absence of any real action, are given over to endless transfer speculation, with scores of names paraded in front of our screens as possible winter reinforcements ahead of the league's restart once temperatures start creeping back up to tolerable.
Thanks to FIFA's locating of the World Cup in scorching Qatar and the need to reschedule, though, the entire calendar has been brought forward, meaning there is quite literally no rest for the wicked in Argentina. The Liga Profesional de Fútbol is in full swing, but that has done nothing to quell the simultaneous rumbling of the rumour mill and the dance. And while there is always a potential star signing on the verge of revolutionising Argentine football in the air, now we have the tantalising albeit still improbable prospect of two bona fide aces duking it out with Patronato, Aldosivi et al.
That is correct, both Boca Juniors and River Plate are apparently ready to break the transfer market wide open with a marquee signing for each Superclásico giant. The Millonario struck first, making public their interest in veteran Uruguay and ex-Barcelona striker Luis Suárez, currently a free agent after leaving Atlético Madrid. Not to be outdone, Boca have their eye on Arturo Vidal, Chile's crack midfielder and butt of a thousand Argentine Twitter jokes every time that his nation misses out on the World Cup – and more importantly, one of the finest players of his generation during impressive spells at the likes of Leverkusen, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and the two-time Copa América champion Roja side.
Despite previously professing his admiration for the blue and gold of Boca, the Chilean nevertheless appears an outside bet. Vidal's first choice appears to be Brazilian heavyweights Flamengo, in whose shirts he has posed on multiple occasions; with first club Colo Colo also a viable option should the Mengão, as his agent stated in a recent interview, fail to make an offer. Suárez similarly is unlikely to line up for River this year, in spite of compatriot Enzo Francescoli's exhaustive efforts to turn El Pistolero's head. At 35 he still believes he can cut it in European football and any move away from the old continent may have to wait until after the World Cup. In the meantime there are also a few perhaps more realistic targets out there for the giants: Paraguay sensation Matías Arezo in River's case, ex-Estudiantes anchorman Santiago Ascacibar for the Xeneize, who confided to TyC Sports that his brother was “driving him crazy” in pushing for a move to the Bombonera.
Most unusual of all, perhaps the biggest bombshell of the rumour week involved the Superclásico duo only indirectly. The revelation that Carlos Tevez, who recently announced his retirement from the game as a player, is considering taking up the vacant coach's job with Rosario Central could not help but raise eyebrows, especially considering that the ex-forward had shown little interest up to now of taking a role on the bench. But his mind seems made up, as he said in a recent interview: “I am going to be a coach, I have decided that... I am excited, I'm really into it.”
Tevez will certainly need all the enthusiasm he can muster at the Gigante del Arroyito. This week Leandro Somoza became Central's second bench casualty of 2022 as he stepped down following his side's 2-0 reverse to Huracán, a result which left the Canalla second-bottom in the league standings with just a single point from their opening two games. In the entire year to date they have managed a pitiful 15 points, a mark above only Talleres and which threatens to set up a harrowing relegation fight in 2023, or even sooner if they cannot snap out of their funk. Tevez never shirked a challenge as a player, and that is exactly what he will have on his hands to kick off his new career as coach if he decides to throw in his lot with the strugglers.