All you need to know about Man Utd & Liverpool target Julian Alvarez
Manchester United are looking to bolster their squad in the January transfer window and are reportedly interested in River Plate forward Julian Alvarez.
Alvarez has attracted the attention of a host of European clubs with his goalscoring exploits in Argentina, netting a bucket load of goals during this calendar year and making his international debut for Argentina.
We’ve collected together everything you need to know about the 21-year-old striker.
His story so far
Alvarez joined River from Atletico Calchin in 2016 and, prior to that, had trials with Boca Juniors and Real Madrid. Though he made a strong impression with the Spanish giants, Real could not sign him at the time due to age restrictions.
He would go on to make his senior debut for the Argentine club in October 2018 and has really come into his own during 2021.
Alvarez wrote himself into River Plate folklore by scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over Boca in September in a display reminiscent of another diminutive striker who made his name in Argentinian football before heading across the Atlantic: a young Sergio Aguero.
With a magnificent return of 18 goals and 6 assists in just 17 starts in the Argentine top flight, it’s no surprise that a queue of European suitors has grown with each passing month.
Aston Villa posted a strong interest in the player during the summer transfer window but were unable to secure a £15million deal.
And now Alvarez is linked with the likes of Bayern Munich, Juventus, both Madrid clubs, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Capping a sterling year for the young striker, Alvarez made his international debut during Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Chile in June 2021. He has made five appearances for the national side.
— Project Football (@ProjectFootball) December 21, 2021
Style of play
Alvarez plays as a central striker, constantly pressuring defenders with his stamina and aggression – which makes him ideal for the pressing style favoured by Europe’s top clubs.
Confident on the ball, Alvarez possesses flair and confidence in the final third that belies his tender years. With deceptively quick acceleration, he is also stronger than he appears at first glance.
There is also a willingness to drop deep in search of possession and, when he is found by a teammate, Alvarez is difficult to stop – with a dribble success rate of 71.1% this season, he ranks in the top 10 players in the Argentine Primera Division.
The youngster has been dispossessed a total of just 28 times in 2021, an impressive return for a player who operates so high up the pitch.
Alvarez could perhaps work on his aerial ability but, with a multitude of other strong attributes, he still represents a very modern striker that would be an asset for a host of European clubs.
What he’s said
Alvarez has refused to rule out a move to Europe in the upcoming transfer window.
“Frankly, I don’t know what will happen, now I’m only thinking about celebrating. In January we will see,” Alvarez told reporters following River Plate’s 4-0 win over Colon.
On whether a move could jeopardise his hopes of playing in next year’s World Cup, Alvarez added: “We all know how much the World Cup means for a player.
“When I make my decision I’ll choose what’s best for me.”
What they’ve said
“He has a lot in common with Lautaro Martinez, in the way he plays and in his consideration. For today’s market 25million dollars is a bargain.” – Lorenzo De Santis, Alvarez’s agent.
“[Alvarez] has shown important things but he is still young. He may have a moment when his level drops – and we will see what kind of player he is once he leaves [River Plate].
“We will see how [Alvarez] comes out of that and then we’ll see the player he’ll be. I like him because he has strength, speed, scores goals and has a good shot. Hopefully, he can maintain [his form].” – Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.
“Julian Alvarez is the Argentine soccer striker that I like the most, I discover nothing by saying this. I see him as very complete and he also has the most important thing to have in football.
“He is constantly hungry and I see that in players like [Luis] Suarez, [Edinson] Cavani and Julian Alvarez. He does not skimp, he does not underestimate and he breaks you in the middle whether you are [a] small, large or medium [club].
“These players are like that, they don’t look at who is in front [of them], they want to score as many goals [as they can].” – Former River striker Sebastian Abreu.