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Eyed by Arsenal at 16, Maximiliano Romero ‘very interested’ in making London move

The Argentine prodigy at Velez Sarsfield's first team says he wants to emulate Diego Maradona and Radamel Falcao and welcomes the interest of Arsenal.
Maximiliano Romero has played first team football at just 16 with Velez Sarsfield in Argentina, drawing the interest of Arsenal. Augustin Marcarian / Reuters / April 4, 2015
Maximiliano Romero has played first team football at just 16 with Velez Sarsfield in Argentina, drawing the interest of Arsenal. Augustin Marcarian / Reuters / April 4, 2015

Maximiliano Romero wants to emulate the career of Diego Maradona and become a penalty box predator like Radamel Falcao, the Argentine 16-year-old who is coveted by Arsenal told Reuters on Wednesday.

The quicksilver Romero hopes to play for Arsenal in the Premier League if talks with his club Velez Sarsfield can reach agreement.

Saying he has the “same dream” as Maradona, Romero adds, “I want to play in the first division, become a champion with Velez and get to the World Cup and be able to win it.

“I want to try to do what Falcao does in the box, the aggression he has in the box no-one else has,” he added of Manchester United’s Colombia striker who emerged as a top-flight player in Argentina with River Plate before moving to Europe.

Read more: The National’s Transfer Talk page

Velez want to hang on to Romero, who has played for the first team and practises regularly with them, and have not reached a deal with Arsenal.

“I’m very interested in this proposal they have made to me but right now I’m concentrating on Velez,” the powerful youngster said.

“We are taking things bit by bit, we have to be calm.”

“I’m leaving it all in Roly’s hands, he’s already travelled to London twice so he’s managing it all,” Romero said of his agent Rolando Zarate, elder brother of Queens Park Rangers striker Mauro Zarate, both former Velez forwards.

“If the transfer comes off, my family would probably stay with me for two months then come back because their lives are here. I think my brother will stay there with me which is what I want.”

Walter Romero plays at right back for Deportivo Merlo in the Argentine third-tier.

Romero has been watching the Premier League on television ever since Arsenal’s interest in him.

“Before it was the league in Spain where (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo are.

“On the Playstation my team is Bayern Munich because they have (Franck) Ribery and (Arjen) Robben. I put them on the outside, link up and shoot at goal,” Romero said with a cheeky grin.

Velez president Raul Gamez told Reuters he had met with Arsenal representatives in Buenos Aires but talks had fallen short of an agreement regarding Romero.

“There’s nothing concrete, there are talks, the people of Arsenal came here, they know the player more than we do because they’ve been following him in the Velez juniors,” Games said.

“We don’t have a great interest in selling him but sometimes the economic situation makes us do things we don’t want to for sentimental reasons but if we have to do it it’s to protect the club.

“At this moment I have to say that nothing is certain and the talks have stalled on this matter. We never agreed a fee and the figure that appeared in the media was not what Arsenal offered.”

Gamez, in his second presidential term at Velez, said the club had decided to give Romero a contract for fear his parents might take their son abroad.

“Sometimes, when it concerns a player of 16, you think you might be harming him. We had some players leave for clubs in Spain and they failed,” Gamez said.

“The way to protect the player is to develop properly, give him as few problems as possible and when he goes to Europe have better chances.

“If we reach an agreement he’s going to stay with us for at least two years. Coach (Miguel Angel Russo) considers him a marvellous player.”

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Updated: April 16, 2015 04:00 AM

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