It was only six months ago that Darío Conca arrived at Guangzhou Evergrande for previously unheard of sums of money for the Chinese game, but it appears rivals Shanghai Shenhua are also looking to a Brazil-based Argentine to bolster their squad for the 2012 season, in the form of Andrés D’Alessandro.
The figures being discussed are not at the level of those offered to Conca, in fact they are not even close to those levels, but they would still represent a massive outlay for the Shanghainese club. An offer of €7 million to Porto Alegre-based Internacional has thus far been rejected, but the Porto Alegre side have submitted a counter-offer to Shenhua and shown a willingness to negotiate a deal for a player who turns 31 this year. As for personal terms, the Brazilian newspapers are reporting an offer of $10 million a year for the Argentine playmaker, a significant increase on his current levels of pay, but well below the reported $13.5 million earnings of Conca.
Ironically, D’Alessandro should be considered the better player, having achieved reasonable levels of success in several countries around the world. Conca, on the other hand, never particularly stood out in Argentina and Chile, before a move to Brazil and the change in footballing philosophies afforded him the time on the ball to excel. That was, of course, before he moved to Guangzhou and continued to demonstrate his footballing talents on a new continent.
D’Alessandro, with 25 international caps, was one of many players to have been dubbed the ‘New Maradona’ over the past twenty-years, after starring as a youngster at River Plate and earning a €9 million move to Wolfsburg. The German adventure started well before later stalling, but it was from-Wolfsburg that he moved on loan to Portsmouth and took the Premier League by storm, attracting interest from around Europe. A move to Real Zaragoza in Spain was the result, but once more it was a mixed bag from the Argentine before in 2008 he returned to South America with Internacional. At the Porto Alegre side, just as Conca benefitted from the space afforded to playmakers in Brazil, D’Alessandro has finally justified his early hype, winning a Copa Libertadores and emerging as a firm fan-favourite.
However, the fairy-tale may be coming to end. The sums of money on offer are life-changing for a player now in the Autumn of his career. Inter are being realistic about the chances of keeping the midfielder, with President Giovanni Luigi admitting that Shanghai Shenhua’s offer could prove impossible to reject for both player and club. Inter are handicapped somewhat, as they only own 50% of the player’s economic rights, meaning that if the partnering investment group decide an offer is acceptable, Inter will be highly pressured to sell. The club are waiting on Shenhua’s response, but with the need for reinforcements before the European transfer window closes on January 1st, Inter want a solution quickly.
The crowds have been out appealing for their idol to stay at the Beira-Rio, but with values only set to increase, a return offer will surely see his departure. The ball is now firmly in Shenhua’s court.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015