Chelsea striker Franco Di Santo has been called up to take part in Argentina’s South American Under-20 Championship. The trouble is, it starts in Venezuela on January 19th and with only Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba to play up front for us, Scolari’s reluctant to let the youngster go.
It’s true Di Santo hasn’t been given many opportunities so far this season but with Didier Drogba doing the hokey-cokey in terms of availability for us and Anelka’s form appearing much better away than at home, Di Santo’s absence would leave us with no cover at all.
Anyway, the 19 year old says “I spoke to Scolari and he told me that he wouldn’t let me go. There are only three strikers in the squad: Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and me, and he told me that he needs me to stay in London.”
Di Santo has the backing of the Argentine FA, who have passed the matter over to FIFA in the hope that they’ll make Chelsea release the striker. He also says he has the support of his captain, suggesting “I spoke to John Terry a couple of times in the last couple of days and he said I was right to want to go and play. He said I’m only on the bench and need to get minutes in the team so I get noticed. I’m always on the bench. I’ve only played eight games this season, always coming on in the last 10 or 15 minutes.”
I think this is a difficult one because whilst I’ve never advocated club over country battles, and it’s true Scolari hardly relies on Di Santo from week-to-week, with no available cover up front, we could find ourselves up shit creek without a paddle if the worst came to the worst.
I guess there’s no easy answer.