Over the years Argentina has produced some of the finest footballers the football world has seen. The incorporation of Latin flair and tenacity is a combination that has brought players, clubs and the national side much success. In the second article of The Imports we will be looking at how players from Argentina have fared for the reds.
Although United have a lot of influence globally, not least South America, as yet there are no official affiliate clubs hailing from that corner of the world. But with the signings from the country over recent times, many are speculating that United are trying to announce themselves as the ‘club of choice’ for Argentinians, this is explored in more depth in this article by The Independent.
Current and Former Reds
- Juan Sebastián Verón – The first Argentinian to play for United came with a big reputation having left his home country in 1996 to spend five years in Italy. As many United fans will say, Verón had a torrid time in the famous red shirt. He had more luck in the European games where he was more suited to the different style of play. Having only played for the reds since 2001, Chelsea signed him for £15 million in 2003.
- Gabriel Heinze – Starting his career at Lionel Messi’s old club – Newell’s Old Boys – in 1996 Heinze joined up with United in 2004 from Paris Saint-Germain. He made a blistering start to his reds career penultimating in the 2004/05 Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award, the first non-European to do so. Unfortunately for Heinze his United career was in decline from there on out. The following season was plagued by a serious injury and Patrice Evra was brought in from AS Monaco as his replacement. A lot of fans will remember him for demanding a transfer to Liverpool, and thus the man who initiated the Argentina! Argentina! Chant fell out of favour and was sold to Real Madrid.
- Carlos Tevez – Part of one of the most successful United sides in recent history, Tevez won the double in 2008. He was a fan-favourite during his time at United due to his important goals and high work rate. His work rate was a stark contrast to that of Berbatov however the club couldn’t keep hold of him. Although he won a few friends by saying he wouldn’t join arch rivals Liverpool, Tevez’s advisors stated that he didn’t want to play for the reds anymore and he eventually joined up with Man City.
- Ángel Di María – After United obliterated the club and countries record transfer fee to sign the 2014 Champions League man of the match winner di María started his reds career as ferociously as you’d expect including an exquisite chip in the 5-2 loss to Leicester City. His class is unquestionable but there are similarities with Verón the way he has started to struggle with the demands of the English game. However Di María has plenty of time to rekindle the vicious form he showed at Madrid.
- Marcos Rojo – Signed from Sporting CP – the club that produced Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani for United, Rojo has made a good start to his United career. His typical Argentine tenacity has won many fans over. When United played Cambridge away his desire for the ball was impeccable and was one of the best United players on the pitch.
The following players are ‘potential reds’ purely based on opinion, no official moves have been made. There are also many other young Argentinians that could’ve made this list but I’m focusing on the ones that are playing their football in Argentina.
- Leandro Paredes – The 20-year-old plays centre attacking midfield and has played for one of the biggest clubs in Argentina – Boca Juniors. He’s potential has gained a lot of admirers, so much so he is currently on loan at AS Roma in the Serie A. With Paredes only being 20, his rise from Argentine football to one of Serie A’s biggest clubs is quite astonishing. On top of all that he is only on loan at Roma which means United could intercept his return to his parent club.
- Emanuel Mammana – The centre-back currently at Boca Junior’s biggest rivals – River Plate, is only 19 years old. What’s most impressive is that at his age, he already has a full international cap. Although United do have young centre-backs in Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett, Mammana would be an excellent foreign centre back to have on the books, providing more competition for Chris Smalling and Phil Jones who haven’t been very consistent at the back for United.
- Mathias Romero – Currently Playing for Boca Juniors, Romero is quickly making a name for himself as one of Argentina’s most promising full backs. Coming from a successful academy of players at Boca, if he joined United’s academy he would no doubt become one of the most exciting players. His pace and athleticism are his best attributes along with the typical South American full back’s desire to attack.
- Lucas Romero – One of my personal favourite young players around at the minute Velez Sarsfield’s Romero has all the attributes you would want from a central defensive midfielder. Romero’s agile frame and speed help him to get the ball out of danger quicker. Coupled with the tackling skill and passing you would expect of a central defensive midfielder Romero could easily be joining a bigger club for a high fee very soon.
- Ezequiel Ponce – Another player from Lionel Messi’s old club, a lot of fans may recognise his name from the FIFA games. At only 18, he joined his fellow countryman Paredes at Roma in 2015. This again emphasising his magnificent rise from Argentinian football to a well-established league like the Serie A. Although Ponce has already signed up with Roma, this doesn’t mean United can’t bid for him in future. Ponce is a striker, he also comes from the same country as Messi, and the same club as Messi, coincidence? Are we seeing the next world star? Snap him up!
- Lucas Boyé– continuing the dominating theme of Boca Juniors and River Plate, Lucas Boyé is a striker from the latter. Currently 19, He has at least 20 senior appearances for River which is astounding. Surprisingly Roma haven’t signed him yet! United could snap Boyé up if attempts to sign Ponce fail. Both are very young and if they started learning the English game from such a young age we might well be seeing one of the great Argentinian strike partnerships in the making. Argentina haven’t exactly got a bad record at bringing strikers through, Messi, Aguero, Tevez, Maradona to name but a few!
So again, if any United scouts was reading this here’s how they could fit into the team, the line-up was created using line-up builder. In brackets will be the country they belong to because as the series goes on, the best potential reds will be added into the line-up and at the end the ultimate line up will be revealed. Again this is all down to opinion and should not be taken as fact.
This article was researched and written by Cameron Honey. You can follow him on Twitter.