In the second edition of my “Young prospects in world football” articles, I take a look at another Argentinian wonderkid – Maximiliano Romero.
Before moving to PSV Eindhoven in the winter, the 19-year-old had spent his entire career in the Velez Sarsfield’s football academy. He made his professional debut at the age of 17, and then played sparingly (40 appearances), scoring a total of 9 goals in three seasons. Regardless of that, Maximiliano Romero has been chased by several of Europe’s big clubs, including Arsenal, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.
Based on talent alone, like Lautaro Martinez, he has superstar potential. Romero is not as far ahead in his development as Lautaro, but joining PSV Eindhoven will definitely help him increase that tempo. The Dutch, much like Ajax, have been known as the bridge between the rest of the world and Europe’s top clubs, placing excellent products on the conveyor belt for those clubs to buy. Ruud van Nistelrooy, Mark van Bommel, Arjen Robben, Ibrahim Affelay, Kevin Strootman, Dries Mertens, Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum are some of the famous names who forged their crafts in Eindhoven, before moving on to take on bigger challenges in their careers.
Romero would probably already have been a member of either Liverpool or Arsenal, if it weren’t for a cruciate ligament knee injury, suffered during a reserve squad game when he was 16, which forced both clubs to halt their pursuit of the teenager. Dortmund, who are always on the lookout for young talent, also showed interest this winter, but Maximiliano, along with his agent father, decided to move to Holland. I don’t want to speculate, but my guess is the move was connected to the fact that Romero should be able to get more first team opportunities in PSV, which sold its number 9 (Locadia) during the last transfer window. With Hirving Lozano and Luuk De Jong leading the attack, he’ll be nothing more than an occasional substitute once he recovers from his most recent injury. However, with Lozano being touted by many teams, it’s quite possible we see Romero get significant playing time come next season.
The native of Buenos Aires has made many best prospects lists over the past 2-3 years. That’s not a coincidence. Wide-shouldered and standing at 1,79 cm, he’s not your classical diminutive Argentinian. He’s dynamic with the ball at his feet, showing splendid control for his age. I see him and he reminds me of Inter’s Mauro Icardi. As we all know too well, many Argentinian prospects are dubbed wonderkids, future Maradonas and potential superstars, but very few even come close to meeting those lofty expectations. That’s why it would be unwise to say Maximiliano Romero is such a player. For me, he’s just a gifted youngster, who with the proper leadership and training, can become a valuable member of one of European’s best, and has the potential for more. I had the best season in my Football Manager history with Lautaro Martinez and Maximiliano Romero leading the attack. As ridiculous as it sounds, I would love to one day see that pairing wreaking havoc for a team in Europe.