Argentinian giants River Plate have been famed for producing some outstanding footballers over the years and many of them have moved on to bigger and better things at the highest level of European football. Some of the most famous exports from Los Millionarios include Hernan Crespo, Pablo Aimar, Javier Saviola, Esteban Cambiasso, Mario Kempes and Gabriel Batistuta who have became household names in Europe.
Amidst a time of uncertainty at El Monumental after coach Angel Cappa was axed last week following just one victory in eleven league matches, there have been little positives for River's followers but the emergence of Erik Lamela and Funes Mori might excite Los Millionarios for the near future. Lamela and Mori's days at River could be over in the next transfer window after big boys Juventus and Benfica expressed an interest in both players respectively.
18-year-old Lamela is still a newbie to the cauldren of Argentinian football after only making 12 appearances since his first-team debut in June last year. Lamela was hunted by Barcelona at just 12 years of age, but no agreement could be reached at the time. The attacking-midfielder caused rivals Boca a host of problems in the recent SuperClasico and he has already insisted his heart lies in the Nou Camp. Pressure from the AFA saw Lamela's dream move to Barcelona fall through in a deal reported to be worth around £100,000 to him and his family.
River's new No.9 is eager to follow in the footsteps of legends such as Gabriel Batistuta, Hernan Crespo and all has already attracted strong interest from Manchester United and Benfica in the last month. The Portuguese champions have an excellent history in attracting South American youngsters to Lisbon and already have two products of River Plate in Saviola and Aimar. With an impressive 1 in 3 goal ratio at El Monumental and has already scored in a SuperClasico at the age of 19. He appeared on an American TV show 'Suenos MLS' in which he won a contract with MLS club FC Dallas before moving back to River Plate.
In recent times, Argentinian clubs have struggled to compete with the European hawks who have taken players from Argentina at very young ages and brought them through in their own acadamies. Lamela and Mori have survived thus far, but beware of the circling predators who will be looking to take them away from Buenos Aires sooner rather than later.