WHILE one of Argentina’s finest players makes the life of a millionaire in England’s North West sound like a prison sentence, Denis Stracqualursi cannot believe his luck.
Carlos Tevez might be desperate to see the back of the Premier League, but Everton’s wide-eyed South American new-boy says he is living the dream – regardless of the weather.
Stracqualursi, 23, signed on a season-long loan from Argentine club Tigre on transfer deadline day last week, and is busy easing into life on Merseyside.
“I don’t think I’m going to have any problems settling in,” says the tall, heavily-tattooed striker who has become one of his nation’s most highly-rated young strikers.
“My family aren’t here yet but from what I’ve seen so far I like Liverpool. It’s very calm compared to back home and that’s important.”
Stracqualursi has just completed a training session in a typically cold and rainy English September morning, but his excitement is abundantly clear.
“The cold? I don’t know. The main thing for me is that I want to be here,” he says. “That’s absolutely fundamental to settling in. What’s more important is a nice easy-paced place to live.
“I’m happy to be here. I’ve been around Liverpool a little bit and I like what I’ve seen. I’ve seen Everton play quite a lot already because the Premier League is televised in Argentina.”
Stracqualursi was already aware of Everton’s history before his move materialised.
“I knew Everton were a big club with a successful history and I knew they had a very big, enthusiastic fan-base,” he says.
“I’m getting to know a bit about the other members of the squad – and obviously there’s a few to come back from international duty as well.
“But already you can tell everyone gets on really well. It’s a good dressing room so everything’s been very positive so far.
“Despite the language (he speaks no English) everyone has made me feel totally at ease and very comfortable.”
The man nick-named El Traca by Tigre fans will wear the number 11 shirt of Everton, and admits his journey to the Premier League caps a whirl-wind ride.
Stracqualursi arrives having enjoyed the best season of his career after a 22-goal haul saw him finish 2010/11 as top scorer in the Argentine Primera Division, and feels ready to build on that momentum.
“It has been a bit of a roller-coaster over the last three years,” he says. “Only three years ago I was playing in the third tier of Argentinean football so it’s a massive step up to find myself now about to start playing in the Premier League in England. But you work for big steps like that when you go out on the field.
“But I know I have to work a lot harder now I’m at the club.
“It’s important to settle into the style of football as well as the way of life. To stay somewhere is much more important and harder to achieve than just arriving somewhere.
“I know that it’s a big challenge and it’s been a big jump, but I intend to work hard to prove I deserve to be here.”
The striker may not anticipate the same problems as Carlos Tevez, but he would love to emulate some of the Manchester City man’s finer qualities.
“Tevez, as a forward, I have watched very closely,” he says. “I saw the way he went about the task at West Ham and the two Manchester clubs and I would like to think I can copy that model.
“He is an icon at all those clubs. It is all about dying for the shirt, sweating for the club, trying really hard to settle in and being ready physically.
“Then I have to prove myself to the manager, my team-mates and supporters that I can do it at this level in England.”