It could be the transfer of the summer, if it happens. Goan giants Dempo SC are in talks with Argentinian World Cupper Ariel Arnaldo Ortega. This was confirmed by Dempo coach-cum-secretary Armando Colaco on the sidelines of the Indian national team camp yesterday.
The 37 year old Argentinian born in Libertador General San Martín was part of Argentina's World Cup squads in 1994, 1998 and 2002. And in the 1990s was seen as a potential heir to Diego Maradona but like many others he faltered to achieve such greatness.
Dempo are said to be in constant touch with Ortega, who until earlier this year played for CA All Boys Buenos Aires, but one has to remember he is way past his prime and has been in the news for the wrong reasons a number of times. Especially his drinking problem has been covered by the international media.
Ortega started his playing career nearly 20 years ago with River Plate Buenos Aires before moving to FC Valencia, Sampdoria Genoa, FC Parma, returned to River Plate before playing for Fenerbahce Istanbul. Thereafter he returned to Argentina to play for Newell's Old Boys, River Plate, Independiente Rivadavia before his fourth stint with River Plate.
Dempo's can get Ortega for less then what top foreigners like Odafe and Beto are earning. Is it worth a gamble? It depends in what physical condition Ortega is, if he is willing to sweat it out in Indian conditions and if Dempo change their conservative approach to foreign players to take a gamble.
There can be doubts about Ortega having an impact on the field, but of it it surely would give Dempo considerable mileage.