Kharkiv capture Argentine Cristaldo

KIEV, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Ukraine's Metalist Kharkiv have signed Argentine striker Jonathan Cristaldo from Velez Sarsfield, the club said on Tuesday.

"We have been watching him for a year. His club refused to let him go but Cristaldo himself insisted on his transfer," Metalist coach Myron Markevych told Channel 24.

The 21-year-old, who made his first division debut in 2007, scored 21 goals in 85 matches for Velez.

The Argentine 2010 Apertura championship, in which Velez finished second behind Estudiantes in December, was Cristaldo's breakthrough tournament.

He scored crucial goals as a substitute replacing either Uruguayan Santiago Silva and Juan Manuel Martinez.

An under-20 international, Cristaldo was called-up to the Argentina squad by former national coach Diego Maradona in January last year although he was an unused substitute for the friendly against Costa Rica.

Metalist are third in the Ukraine championship after 19 games, 14 points behind leaders Shakhtar Donetsk.