Esteban Cambiasso at Leicester City: Argentina legend not signed just to buy big name

Nigel Pearson denies there were cynical reasons for signing the Champions League winner

Manager Nigel Pearson insists that Leicester City’s unlikely signing of the Champions League-winning Argentina international Esteban Cambiasso was made for football reasons rather to put “bums on seats”.

The 34-year-old has joined Leicester on a one-year deal after being released by Internazionale in the summer, following a 10-year spell in Italy during which he won five Serie A titles and helped clinch the treble of Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia under Jose Mourinho in 2009-10. He has 52 Argentina caps.

The deal follows Pearson’s club record £8m purchase of Argentine striker Leonardo Ulloa from Brighton, but Pearson rejected comparisons with his big-spending predecessor at Leicester, Sven Goran Eriksson, who was criticised for paying inflated sums for big-names of questionable quality.

“I don’t like doing deals for commercial reasons,” Pearson said. “The decision to sign Esteban was a football decision. He will add a lot to what is already a pretty talented squad. He’s here as a footballer, not a bums-on-seats man.”

Cambiasso, whose contract is believed to be worth £2m, would not talk about his other options, having been linked with River Plate in his home country, Valencia, and West Ham. He said that playing in the Premier League would fulfil an ambition. “In the past I had great possibilities because I played in Italy, Spain and Argentina but I need to play in the Premier League,” he said.

“I chose Leicester because they had an idea for me and they told me their first option was Cambiasso, their second option Cambiasso and their third option Cambiasso. Once I know that I called my brother, my agent and said, ‘We go there’.”

Nigel Pearson


Leicester are awaiting international clearance before deciding if Cambiasso will be in their squad at home to Arsenal tomorrow.

Pearson rejected Wigan manager Uwe Rösler’s claim that Leicester had “used” his midfielder James McArthur and left the Scotland player “in limbo”, abandoning a move once the Cambiasso deal was complete.

“My policy is not to discuss another club’s players and we have made nothing public in regard to Wigan,” Pearson claimed.