5 Teams Who Should Be Looking to Sign World Cup Star Sergio Romero
Sergio Romero's performances during the 2014 World Cup vindicated Alejandro Sabella's faith in the giant goalkeeper. Despite playing just a handful of minutes with Monaco through the 2013/14 season, the shot-stopper's unorthodox talents were evident as he marshalled Argentina through to a final defeat against Germany.
Four clean sheets in seven matches, and two penalty saves to deny the Netherlands a semi-final shootout victory, have raised Romero's profile to a level unimaginable prior to the tournament. But his loan spell at Monaco has come to an end, and it is uncertain where the goalkeeper whose contract remains with Sampdoria will end up for the coming season.
The following five clubs could benefit greatly from a keeper of Romero's quality as they look towards the next campaign. One thing is for certain: All of those named would love him between the posts should a game go to penalties.
Could the Emirates Stadium be a suitable destination for Romero? There is no doubt that Arsene Wenger's charges are in desperate need of extra manpower between the posts. With the exits of Lukasz Fabianski and Emiliano Viviano, a new goalkeeper is vital.
Chiquito would enter the north London institution not as a first choice, but rather to battle out the No. 1 shirt against promising Poland international Wojciech Szczesny. If Wenger does aim his gaze at the Argentine World Cup hero, however, Romero would have to decide if he wishes to spend another season potentially on the bench should he fail to topple his rival in the net.
For the last five seasons, football in eastern Sicily has had an extremely latin flavour. Eight of the Catania first-team squad were born in Argentina, a number that was higher before Mariano Andujar decided to head to the mainland with Napoli.
Catania are in a transition phase now after going down from Serie A in the 2013/14 season, and top of their list of priorities should be a top-class goalkeeper who can spearhead their promotion fight. Romero has experience in the Italian second tier, where he helped Sampdoria go back up, and his quality would be a major asset for the Rossoazurri as they battle to make an instant return.
It would be a real long shot to see Sergio Romero line up for the 2014/15 season in the Manchester United shirt. David De Gea is the undisputed No. 1 around Old Trafford, while Danish shot-stopper Anders Lindegaard is an able deputy should the first choice be unavailable.
One factor that could play in Romero's favour, however, is the identity of the new manager around the Red Devils. Louis van Gaal directed the Argentine when he was a youngster in AZ Alkmaar; and judging by the fact that he credits himself for Chiquito's penalty heroics against Netherlands, a reunion in Manchester is an unlikely, but not impossible prospect.
If Chiquito did opt for a move to the Portuguese capital Lisbon, he would certainly feel at home. Argentine World Cup team-mate Enzo Perez could show him around his new home, alongside fellow compatriots Eduardo Salvio, Franco Jara, Rogelio Funes Mori and Nicolas Gaitan.
From the club's perspective, the goalkeeping position looks decidedly precarious going into the new season. Thirty-three-year-old Artur Moraes and back-up Paulo Lopes, 35, are not exactly nods to the future for the Europa League finalists and national champions.
Romero's arrival would inject some fresh blood into the position, strengthening Benfica's goalkeeping roster and assuring continuity for the next five years.
Malaga's last experience with an Argentine goalkeeper would certainly give the Spanish side confidence to repeat the experiment for the 2014/15 Liga season. Willy Caballero filled the team's net with distinction for four years, and indeed was proposed by many observers as a better alternative to Romero for the 2014 World Cup.
Caballero, however, has gone, following old boss Manuel Pellegrini to the Premier League with Manchester City. That sale has left Malaga short-handed between the posts, and if Romero can repeat his World Cup form week-in, week-out, he could be a proficient replacement for his countryman.