Opponents of Corinthians in the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores da América, Boca Juniors has plans to assemble a super team for the second half. And this project is to prevent the coming to Brazil of two stars of the first level of South American football.
Former midfielder Juan Román Riquelme, who is now vice president of the Argentine club, said in an interview last week that Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal and Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani “were born to play” at Bombonera.
The two veterans are among the most successful South American athletes in Europe over the last decade and look forward to returning to this side of the Atlantic Ocean in the coming months.
Vidal, who has already worn the shirts of Bayer Leverkusen, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Barcelona, still has one more year on his contract with Inter Milan. However, there are advanced talks for this bond to be terminated during the current European summer.
Cavani, the top scorer in Paris Saint-Germain’s history (200 goals) and who also had a successful spell at Napoli, was released by new Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag, who asked that the Uruguayan’s contract not be renewed.
Free (or almost) to look for new clubs in the second half, the two stars have been dating teams from Brazil, the richest football country in South America.
Flamengo has a long relationship with Vidal, who has even posted photos wearing the red-black shirt and openly said that one day he would like to defend the club. Cavani, on the other hand, has been touted as a candidate for the luxury reinforcement of Botafogo and Corinthians.
But now Boca, a South American giant used to repatriating players who were in Europe, decided to enter the parade and dispute these stars with the Brazilian teams.
Riquelme’s project to have Cavani and Vidal, however, involves heavy engineering.
The first is having the cash to pay the salaries of athletes used to earning real fortunes in the elite of the European elite. Currently, Boca’s highest paid player is forward Darío Benedetto, who earns 3.1 million euros (R$ 16.8 million) a year. The two candidates for Xeneize reinforcements fatally want to break through this ceiling.
In addition, the Buenos Aires team already has the limit of six foreign players allowed in Argentine football. In other words, to hire the Chilean midfielder and the Uruguayan striker, it would be necessary to release two athletes from other nationalities in this edition of Mercado da Bola.
Even if they manage to resolve these issues and make the signings desired by Riquelme, it is unlikely that Boca will be able to select Cavani and Vidal in the first game of the Libertadores round of 16, against Corinthians, on the 28th.
After all, the Uruguayan striker’s contract with Manchester United only expires at the end of the month. That is, he will have to wait for the beginning of July to be registered in another team. Vidal’s case is a little simpler. As the transfer window in Argentina is open, it is enough for Inter Milan to release him in time to be registered for the South American tournament.
Boca is the second biggest winner in Libertadores history, with six titles (one less than the record holder Independiente). But his last achievement was 15 years ago, in 2007, when he defeated Grêmio in the final.
In the current season, the team led by coach Sebastián Battaglia finished in first place in Group E, with one point more than Corinthians, vice-leader of the group that also had Deportivo Cali and Always Ready.