IBWM StaffComment


IBWM StaffComment
Per Andy Polo.jpg

Andy Polo     19     Midfielder     Universidad San Martin     Peru

2013 has been...

An absolute mess.  It all looked to be going so well.  With a reasonable, if not spectacular 2012 behind him and an impending transfer to Italy in the bag, this review should be very different to what you are about to read….

Andy Polo first came to prominence in his mid teens at Universitario.  His rise through the ranks at La U was widely monitored and word of a very special talent emerging in Peru was spreading across the Atlantic by the time he had reached the first team, aged 16.

Strong, two-footed and quick, comparisons with compatriot Jefferson Farfan were obvious and although Polo had only just broken into the first team, many observers anticipated, appreciating the perpetually precarious state of Universitario’s finances, a sale would be concluded quickly.  News of interest from Liverpool and Arsenal was reported in the UK, whilst Spanish media prematurely confirmed that Polo would be joining Real Madrid imminently. 

By the end of a stop start 2012, an opportunity to move to Europe with Genoa arrived.  Agreeing a fee of between one and two million Euros for the teenager, Genoa were due to complete the transfer in January this year, but this is where things take a turn for the worst.

It looked a good move.  Genoa have a solid reputation for developing young talent and getting the best out of Polo would be wonderful for the Peruvian national team, but by mid January it was clear that something was very wrong.  Initial claims in the Peruvian press suggested that Genoa had suffered cold feet and reneged on the deal, while later accusations highlighted that Polo would gain a hefty signing fee for playing his part in making sure the transfer fee was waived.  Understandably, the situation left Universitario furious.

With a complaint lodged to FIFA regarding the actions of Genoa, claim and counter claim were publicly made by the management of La U and Polo’s advisers.  The situation had become untenable and by February, with both parties in dispute, Polo was first suspended then sacked by the club he had been at since he was a young boy. 

The exact situation regarding Andy Polo remains unclear and with FIFA gradually unpicking events in the early part of the year, Peru’s own sporting arbitration service stepped in to try to resolve the issue.  With a lengthy legal battle looming should he attempt to leave Peru, Polo opted to stay in Lima and see out the remainder of 2013 at Universidad San Martín, although it would be May before Universidad would sanction the agreement and allow Polo to play.

Making his Torneo Descentralizado debut as a sub in a 1-1 draw with UTC Cajamarca, Andy Polo can point to some reasonable displays and a handful of goals since he arrived at the club, but nothing anywhere near to justifying the initial hype.

What next?

As 2013 draws to a close, Polo remains as regular headline fodder in Peru and scarcely a day passes without a very public shot across the bows from the player, his advisers or Universidad.  Although playing regular football, development has been stopped rather than stunted over the last year and we really do wonder what the long-term effects of this dreadful affair have been on such a young head.

That Polo remains such a talked about figure emphasises the regard in which he was, and maybe still is, considered in his home country.  At 19 and without much in the way of hard evidence to justify the hyperbole, Polo could quite easily have disappeared but hope remains.

At time of writing links to Allianza have been played down by the player and, despite talk of interest from England and Spain, the most likely outcome right now must be a reconciliation with Universidad, who still hold some control over the player’s future, else he would already now be in Italy.

Stripping away all of the drama leaves us with an exciting young footballer that desperately needs to be in the company of better players.  There is still time for Andy Polo to succeed at the highest level, but he has a lot to do to lose the ‘damaged goods’ tag.  The first objective might be to apologise, return to his ‘home’ club and be shot of those that have guided his ‘career’ thus far.  The clock is ticking.

"It's hard to imagine just how things could have gone any worse for Andy Polo over the last year.  The only saving grace from the last twelve months is that Polo has remained in his home city and carried on playing.  Hopefully, he will have learned from his experience." - Jeff Livingstone, IBWM

E     A textbook example of bad advice very nearly destroying a promising career