international striker Ignacio
Scocco has agreed to sign a two-and-a-half year deal with Premier League club
Sunderland, becoming the club’s fourth signing in the winter transfer window.
Despite having joined Brazilian
club Internacional just last summer, Scocco is headed England after a
rather difficult stay in Brazil; having scored four goals in a total of 21 appearances
with the Porto Alegre club.
The 28 year old
striker is set for his second tour in Europe after having played in Greece with
AEK Athens during 2008 and 2011, scoring a total
of 32 goals in 112 appearances. Scocco would then move to UAE Pro-League’s
top club, Al Ain FC. In his only season with
the club, Scocco’s contribution of 11 goals helped achieve the club’s tenth league title, and first since the
Due to family issues,
Scocco would refuse to sign a new deal with Al Ain and was instead loaned out
to Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina. Having returned to his
homeland and debut club, Scocco became the team’s offensive talisman, scoring a
total of 23 goals in 33 matches during his stay, under current Barcelona manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino as the club proceeded to win the league title and enjoy a
deep run in the Copa Libertadores, making the semifinals before being eliminated by the eventual
champions Atletico Mineiro on penalty kicks.
Having also formally
played in Mexico for Pumas UNAM, the Argentine striker joins Sunderland’s group
of strikers that include Jozy Altidore, Fabio Borini and Steven Fletcher, in hopes of lighting a up an inefficient
Scocco is now Sunderland’s fourth signing this month after bringing in Oscar Ustari, Santiago Vergini and Marcos Alonso, in the team’s crusade to avoid relegation.
He has played outside his native Argentina during most of his career, with spells in Greece, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil. The 28-year old striker has also been capped once for Argentina. He represented his country in a game against the Brazilian National Team in 2012.
Scocco is a complete attacking player, with good technique, finishing and can also shoot from distance. He is also a versatile player that can also play as an attacking midfielder and as a winger. He's an accomplished free-kick taker and does a good job holding on to the ball, while also contributing to his team's defensive work.
The striker had an exceptional performance at Newell's in 2013, being one of the team's best players in Copa Libertadores and earned a move to Brazilian club Internacional. He was also included by Uruguayan newspaper El País in the 2013 South American Dream Team. Despite all the hype, Scocco could not adapt to Brazilian football, and Internacional's managerial problems further contributed to his failure at the Porto Alegre-based club.
Indeed, he only scored four goals in 17 appearances and failed to fully establish himself in the first team. The lack of success at the Brazilian club led him to lose heart and to publicly express his desire to leave the club. Meanwhile, Internacional were also interested in recouping the investment they made.
The biggest "if" is whether Scocco will be able to adapt quickly to Sunderland. But given their need of immediate success, pressure is expected to be high, so the English club will need to ensure the striker is happy and confident to succeed in order to avoid the problems he had at Internacional. However, the presence of other Argentine players in the squad as well as manager Gus Poyet should help him adapt to his new club quicker.
Scocco also still hopes to make it into the Argentine World Cup squad, and playing in the Premier League might give him the motivation he needs to try to achieve that goal.
Arriving to training camp
with an ankle injury is not going to please your team's coaching staff and
brass. Talking bad about them and expressing your desire to leave just
months into your arrival, must irritate them. Not performing up to the
expectations placed upon you, will make people think twice about your arrival. If you add those three up, you have the reasons as to why Ignacio Scocco saw his drama come to an end over at Internacional.
On Sunday, Scocco was close to signing with Sunderland according to Sky Sports reporter Paulo Freitas. This news comes off the heels of the rescission of his much ballyhooed move to Internacional from Newell's Old Boys this past Friday. Back then the Brazilian side spent US$8 million (€5.8 million) to obtain his services and would like to recuperate some of the money that the club spent to purchase the player originally. His time at Newell's saw him become the most dominant player in Argentine football helping La Lepra win their first league title in nine years and reach the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores for the first time in 20 years
Ignacio Scocco's father, Héctor, came on Radio La Red in Argentina on Sunday and confirmed that his son spoke directly with Sunderland coach Gustavo Poyet. He confirmed that the player is currently negotiating his departure in which there are estimated that the Black Cats will be forced to spend US$10 million for the Argentine forward. He also had some pretty hard potshots thrown in the direction of the Inter brass. "Nacho came as the leading goalscorer in Argentina. They bought him to supposedly arrive to the "team to beat" at that time in Brazil," said Scocco's father "They ended up two points clear of relegation and did not qualify for any cup."
Internacional have express their intention to sell the player and the first teams looking to repatriate him were River Plate, Racing Club and Newell's. River Plate find themselves in a financial situation where they are currently hemorrhaging around AR$2 million (US$300 thousand per week) as of right now. Also consider that the Argentine government has very tight restrictions on the spending of US dollars in place right now put in place by the Argentine government, making it very difficult for any Argentine team to be able to buy a player from abroad with such a price tag. The only feasible way for a club to obtain him is either the involvement of investors or to get him on a loan basis. This option could appease Inter in looking to rid themselves of the player, somewhat- at least in the Argentines' minds- because the Brazilians have no interest in that option at all.