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The Daily Mail reported yesterday that Argentina international and current Villareal benchwarmer Juan Román Riquelme is Sven-Goran Eriksson’s main target for the January transfer window. Riquelme hasn’t been a part of Villareal’s excellent start in La Liga, lead by former Manchester United and Parma striker Giuseppe Rossi. The Daily Mail reported it would cost a mere £6million to bring Riquelme to North England.
If I’m Eriksson, this has to be my priority. It’s obvious that Villareal has moved on without Riquelme, who is just months removed from leading Boca Juniors to the 2007 Copa Libertadores title, would fit right in with the way Manchester City is playing right now. The passing game at Manchester City is what Riquelme does best, and I believe he would slide into that midfield effortlessly.
Critics will say that Manchester City already has someone at Riquelme’s position – Elano – but I believe that could be fit on the same field together. I am a huge Elano fan, even though I did not see him much until this summer’s Copa America. He has had an impressive start to the Premiership season, and him and Riquelme operating together might just give Manchester City a shot at the title.
Elano has been playing behind a lone striker so far, and Riquelme could slide right next to him or a little behind provided a defensive midfielder is deployed behind both of them, and City have one in Dietmar Hamann. Don’t think a manager like Eriksson couldn’t find a way to fit both these guys on the field at the same time.
Riquelme is sill one of the best midfielders in the game, and while he may not be a main player for Argentina over the next year, there is no shame in losing your spot to the Messi(ah). Manchester City has been great this year, but this move could solidify a Champions League spot for next year.
What do you think – should Eriksson move for Riquelme? With Chelsea wobbling, could Riquelme’s inclusion fire Manchester City into the top four and thus into the Champions League?