The Argentine Torneo de Transición has begun with 14 Paraguayans on the books of 10 clubs, here is a quick peek at each player.
Santiago Salcedo (Banfield) – The 32-year-old striker was instrumental in El Taladro’s promotion with 17 goals proving he’s still got it. He provides a good target up front and can battle well in the air.
José Devaca (Banfield) – Unlike his compatriot Sa-Sa the centre-back wasn’t a first choice during the Primera B campaign and is likely to be used as a back up. He knows the club inside out having been there since 2007 barring a couple of short seasons in Paraguay with Rubio Ñu and Capiatá.
Marcos Cáceres (Newell’s Old Boys) – The roving full back was a key part of Newell’s Torneo Final championship in 2013 and continued to be a regular until a knee injury in March. He’s back now and expect some dangerous crossing going forward.
Víctor Ayala (Lanús) – A versatile player who can be used at right back or across the midfield he has a dangerous delivery from dead balls and has scored several good goals from distance.
Gustavo Gómez (Lanús) – The new signing comes from Libertad (the same club as Ayala) and is one of the most exciting young Paraguayan defenders around. He was captain of the U20s at the World Cup and has since represented the national team. The 21-year-old has look unfazed so far including two strong displays marking Jô of Atletico Mineiro in the Recopa.
Enzo Prono (Arsenal de Sarandí) – A newcomer to Argentina arriving from Olimpia having previously played at Sol de América. Prono is an intelligent player and deceptively good in the air despite his short stature, expect the forward to be involved in a lot goals even if he doesn’t score many.
Jorge Baéz (Arsenal de Sarandí) – The midfielder can also play at full back and has great acceleration and a decent shot from further out. He was used sparingly in the 2014 Apertura but was an important part of Olimpia’s run to the Copa Libertadores final in 2013 so has experience in big games.
Néstor Ortigoza (San Lorenzo) – fans of Argentinian football will need no introduction to the portly porteño who has Paraguayan nationality through his parents. He is the conductor from deep for the Cuervo and he never, ever misses a penalty.
Jorge Rojas (Gimnasia de la Plata) – Will be fascinating to see what the rapid winger has learned during his time in Portugal, he terrorized defences with Cerro Porteño and I have a feeling he could surprise a few teams here.
Nery Cardozo (Gimnasia de la Plata) – Desperately unlucky to get injured on his loan to Viking FK in Norway but Cardozo came back and scored 13 for Rubio Ñu last year and 6 in 12 starts for Olimpia in the Apertura. A good finisher and strong in and around the box he should fit in well in the rough and tumble of the Primera División.
Adrián Fernandez (Quilmes) – The 22-year-old worked through the ranks with Independiente and looked an exciting prospect when he got some game time, but appearances for the left-footed striker weren’t regular which is why he’s giving it a shot at Quilmes. Will be interesting to see how he fares.
Orlando Gaona Lugo (Olimpo) – Originally from Villa Hayes the gateway to the Chaco, the right winger was a promise at Boca and got plenty of time with the senior Paraguay side during Tata Martino’s final year. He likes to run with the ball and was used sparingly by the Bahia Blanca side last year, mainly as an impact sub. Could this be his breakthrough year?
Julio César Rodriguez (Defensa y Justicia) – Honestly know very little about Rodriguez who plays as a striker and has been at the club since 2007 but also played in Mexico with Dorados and Xolos before appearing in the Torneo Final with Godoy Cruz.
Rolando Garcia (Godoy Cruz) – Like Rodriguez he spent most of his professional career at Defensa y Justicia having left 2 de Mayo of Paraguay in his teens. The defender was a regular with Lobos in Mexico last season and has returned to Argentina with the Mendoza- based side.
By Ralph Hannah