Tomas Pochettino returns to his native Argentina to play for River Plate

Poche, we hardly knew ye. 

Austin FC loaned midfielder Tomás Pochettino to Club Atlético River Plate on January 10. The 25-year-old joins the famed Argentine club on a one-year loan with option to buyFor ATXFC, the move frees up a Designated Player (DP) and International roster designation.

Speculated for several weeks by multiple Argentine reporters, truth to a potential Pochettino deal became most apparent when Alex Ring was re-signed as a DP. With only three DP slots allowed by MLS, something on the roster had to give before the 2022 season started. 

After his highly anticipated transfer to the club in February 2021 from Talleres de Cordoba, Poche fizzled here on the Verde pitch. He finished the club’s inaugural season with a stat line of 26 starts in 31 appearances and recorded two goals and two assists. Both goals came in a 3-2 win over Houston Dynamo FC on August 4.

His loan is a win-win for both parties.

Pochettino elevates to a world-renowned club in his home country. Austin gets to seriously rejigger its roster for 2022. It provided the club an opportunity to reassign a DP slot to Alex Ring, as well as open up an International roster spot for a new player.  

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This time next year Verde fans will have a better understanding of Pochettino’s true talent. 

If he thrives at Los Millonarios, then fingers will no doubt be pointed at Wolff for Poche’s lackluster 2021 performance. To take it a step further, River Plate would likely pick up the option to buy for 2023 and put a nice chunk of change into ATXFC’s pocket from the transfer fee. 

On the flip side, a continued decline in play for Tomás would quiet Wolff’s naysayers. Even less optimal, the club would have to take back the Argentine from loan and try to fit him into a revamped roster or attempt to transfer him (for a considerable loss).       

For Verde’s sake, let’s hope Tomás Pochettino has a banner year in Argentina.

What’s your take on Pochettino’s loan to River Plate? 

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