Once a wise man said, three things are certain in life: 1. Death, 2. Taxes and 3. Manchester City signing a player in the transfer window. Although Pep Guardiola’s army was shy in signing players this summer, they were not shy in spending money. Many fans expected Pep Guardiola to welcome a striker in the summer as a replacement for Sergio Aguero but, instead, the club chose to sign attacking midfielder Jack Grealish. Pep chose to continue with the current squad and gave opportunities to Ferran Torres, Phil Foden, and Jack Grealish nod to play upfront. Now that Ferran Torres has departed the club, Pep Guardiola will need a player to grab the baton and score the goals for considerable future.
A thousand miles away in Argentina lives a man standing 5’8 tall who plays as a striker and loves scoring goals for fun (sounds familiar City fans?). Julian Alvarez, is the name of the youngster that has got Etihad camp excited upon his transfer to Manchester City. Let us look at some factors related to the Argentine’s transfer to the English powerhouse.
PLAN OF TRANSFER
River Plate and Alvarez seem to have agreed with Manchester City’s £15 million offer. Man City were reluctant to trigger his release clause and hence have agreed to include further bonuses of up to £10 million.
The City hierarchy has decided to accept him as a first-team signing and not for EDS.
Julian Alvarez will stay at River Plate (on loan) till the end of the season and later join Guardiola’s camp in the 2022-23 season. His signing will not change Manchester City’s approach for summer transfer activities. City are still likely to chase their main targets.
MANCHESTER CITY FINALLY SIGNING A STRIKER
It feels like an eternity from the last time Manchester City deployed a striker. Although Alvarez will be joining next season, it is also mentioned that he is not signed as a replacement for Sergio Aguero. Hence Alvarez, like everybody else in the first team will have to work hard to earn his place.
Manchester City has enough attacking players in their squad and the addition of Alvarez will only make their claim for next season’s challenge strong. The more depth City has, the more are the chances of them winning every trophy on their way.
MAN CITY’S STYLE & ALVAREZ
Julian Alvarez has often been compared to a young and raw Sergio Aguero but, their styles are not completely similar. While Sergio Aguero was a lethal striker with a strong positional sense inside the box, Alvarez is more of a free-will player who covers a lot of distance in a game, is quick on the ball, and is a good finisher.
Manchester City’s forwards keep shuffling their positions in between the games and Alvarez can handle this role. Alvarez primarily plays as a 9 but, he is equally comfortable playing on either wing. His goalscoring record too is impressive as he is currently the top scorer in the league with 20 goals. Speaking of contributing to the team, he has 12 assists under his belt.
His technique is suitable for Pep Guardiola’s playstyle and hypothetically speaking his style is a mix between Aguero (for technique) and Gabriel Jesus (for skills). This looks like a good match on paper as he is clinically proven in front of the goal.
CHALLENGES FOR ALVAREZ
While the previous point makes us think that it is a match made in heaven, there are some things that we should consider before celebrating this transfer.
Manchester City for a long time have not lined up a striker and still, they have scored a mammoth number of goals, so the question is: Do they really need a striker?
Some might argue that they need a striker to convert so many chances that their players miss, or just to fill the void observed in the centre of the box (e.g. Southampton game). We should also accept the fact that all the teams (even the best) have their off days and hence it is still not enough reason for Guardiola to finally deploy a striker.
Moving from a technically sound Primera Division to a physical league like Premier League, Alvarez will have to work a lot not only on his technique but also on his body. It is not a far-fetched challenge as he will be training under Guardiola’s guidance but, even the likes of Zlatan have failed to cement a place in Guardiola’s lineup.
Manchester City have an unfortunate history with young players on loan at a different club, as none of them except Zinchenko have been able to be a contender for starting role. We have seen the case with Pedro Porro, Angelino, Patrick Roberts and even the future of Tommy Doyle is looking bleak. Hence Alvarez will have to work a lot harder than usual to just grab Guardiola’s attention, the primary work will start later.
As Alvarez is an international despite being so young, it means he is highly rated by a lot of people in football. With City building their team around Foden for considerable future, Alvarez looks like a perfect fit in terms of his technique and style to match it with the Englishman and Guardiola’s tactics.
It’s still early to say about the outcome of the transfer but overall it looks like Alvarez will get multiple chances in the first team to prove himself and looking at his current numbers, he will grab it with both hands.
Also a friendly note to Palmer and Delap: “Good luck guys.”