My tribe

Jonathan Calleri: Guns & Money - why Arsenal, Liverpool and Inter can extend his amazing year

Want to talk career whirlwinds? Then have a chat with Jonathan Calleri.

In less than a year, he's suffered relegation, been identified and signed by one of the game's biggest coaching names, found himself in the middle of a sex party scandal, been mugged and carjacked - oh, and is now wanted by Europe's biggest clubs.

Making it all the more remarkable, is Calleri's admission that he didn't rate himself good enough for the youth team at former club, Atletico All Boys.

"I thought my teammates were technically far better than me," the 21 year-old striker recalled. "I was different to the other players. At least, that's what I thought.

"I was hard on myself. I kept getting lost in games. I'd go to sleep."

However, Calleri was able to slay those doubts and last season, in a struggling All Boys team which eventually was relegated, did enough to warrant preseason trials at Boca Juniors. Nothing was guaranteed, but in front of Carlos Bianchi, the former Argentina and Atletico Madrid coach, Calleri shone in preseason. So much so that Bianchi, now the football director at Boca, insisted to president Daniel Angelici that a deal be done.

"I owe one coach, Bianchi, so much," says Calleri. "It was he who believed in me and convinced the directors to bring me here. I have to thank him for creating this chance for me."

Boca coughed up a bargain €1 million to sign Calleri, having already negotiated a 30 per cent cut of his registration at the beginning of last year. The striker joined Boca with less than 30 senior appearances to his name, but under coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena, he's become a first-choice.

Eight goals in just 19 games has quickly established Calleri, a nephew of former Boca and Nantes defender Nestor Fabbri, as a firm fans' favourite.

"Everything has changed quickly for me," the youngster declared.

"It was tough leaving All Boys after 14 years there and it's been difficult adjusting to Boca. The club is huge.

"There is so much happening around Boca. The club, the people, those who work here, the media, the people waiting outside for a photo or an autograph. Everything is very different."

However, on the pitch, Calleri has thrived, making the most of his attacking versatility.

"I can play as an outright No9, that's where I spent my youth. But I can also play as a second striker, doing the dirty work outside the opposition area and making it easier for my strike-partner.

"The important thing is to be available to the coach and try to not let him down."

But it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Calleri away from the pitch.

Hardly a month into his Boca career, Calleri was mugged at gunpoint. Three armed men threatened to shoot the striker both in the head and his legs before he allowed them to take his car and belongings.

"I hope it never happens again," he said. "They took everything I had, money, my car."

Then last month, just days into Dani Osvaldo's arrival, fresh from a physical clash with Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini, the on-loan Southampton striker was caught up in an alleged sex party. Several of his new Boca teammates were also involved, including Calleri.

The affair had Boca management fuming, with coach Arruabarrena threatening to sack anyone involved.

The situation has since eased and Calleri was able to dodge the media spotlight - helped by his form back on the pitch.

Last week, Calleri was at it again, hitting the winner against Atletico Rafaela. The goal came on the same weekend it was breaking across England that Liverpool and Arsenal were scouting the young forward with the view to taking him to England this summer. can reveal Calleri is no new name for the Premier League duo, with both clubs making enquiries with his agent, Fernando Hidalgo, about the striker when he was shining for All Boys last season.

For the moment, neither Liverpool nor Arsenal have formalised their interest, but the situation is intensifying.

Just days ago, Hidalgo revealed offers from Serie A clubs for Calleri.

"There are two offers, Inter Milan and AS Roma, for Calleri. Now the leaders of Boca and All Boys are aware of them. But there's still nothing official," he confirmed.

"Whatever happens, the Boca directors should improve his contract. Jonathan is one of the lowest paid there."

So, if Hidalgo has anything to do with it, this year's whirlwind won't peter out anytime soon. Whether he makes the jump to Europe, or stays and is rewarded with a bumper new deal, Jonathan Calleri's amazing year is sure to rumble on.

Have your say
  • Add your favourite leagues and clubs
  • Build your own personal news stream
  • Easily share your favourite stories
  • Connect with what your friends are saying

Select your favourite
leagues and clubs
to get started.

Already part of MyTribe?