Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Finally, The Long Ordeal Is Over

After three deals that did not work out, and who knows how many inquiries that were not worth mentioning, Mauro Fórmica is formally under contract with Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League. One thing that I do not like about this deal is that Rovers website will not allow anyone but paying members view the video of the signing they have posted. No, it is not that I blame them for doing this, more that I am wondering why Newell's Old Boys have not done anything similar with on their website. You can see their report on the transfer here.

But, back to the topic at hand. Blackburn announced the signing some 15 hours ago, complete with a picture of El Gato putting pen to paper. A similar shot can be found on Newell's website, so if both teams having such posted is not enough proof that this deal is done, short of Mauro actually playing in a match, I do not know what would be. (A fellow Newell's fan stated that he would not believe another transfer story until the player started training with his new teammates. Well, guess what? According to some sources Mauro HAD started training with Monaco before Blackburn reentered the scene with a better offer at the last minute.)

Now, let us go through the full list of teams that had expressed interest in Fórmica. First, I believe, was River Plate, but they are nearly as cash strapped as Newell's, so could not come up with a reasonable offer. Then there was a team from Brazil, the name of which I do not recall, but they were more interested in a player for player swap, and so was never given any serious consideration.

Galatasaray made the first serious inquiry, but could not come up with enough funds for a down payment. Genoa made a bid, but have a history of making deals and then not bothering to make payments on schedule. Blackburn were in the running previously, but in a deal that would have only been a loan through Red Star Belgrade, which turned Mauro away from the deal. Monaco then came into the picture, but as things looked like a deal would be struck the French team lowered their initial offer. And, finally, Blackburn proved that they were serious about wanting Fórmica by flying one of their private jets to France and steal the player (along with the Newell's officials that had traveled with him) away to England.

Blackburn coach Steve Kean has had high praise for Fórmica through all of this, though some of it is a bit off. He has compared the midfielder with another former Old Boy, Gabriel Batistuta (Happy Birthday, Bati! He turns 41 today.) Granted, he was talking about a young Batigol, but comparing an attacking midfielder to a out and out goal poacher is a bit of a stretch. Still, Bati had quite the team to play with when he first started with Newell's. La Lepra were in a golden age, winning championships with a group of players that were more than just teammates, they were friends who had spent years together getting to know each other.

While many of the current Newell's team are indeed friends, and the team did almost win the 2009 Apertura, a mere two points behind champions Banfield, few players have been with the team for years. Mauro himself made his debut on the first team back in 2006, but the number of players who have come and gone during that time is enough to fill two or three rosters.

And now, it is Mauro who has left. What this means, of course, is that I will be keeping a closer eye on the EPL, and do my best to watch any Blackburn match that comes along... provided it does not conflict with a Newell's match. It also means that Newell's will have to find a way to earn points with out a player who had been acknowledged as their best attacking player.

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