Maximo Perrone: Scouting Manchester City’s wonderkid target

Anthony Onifade
By Anthony Onifade
10 Min Read

Barclays Premier League giants Manchester City are reportedly set to trigger the release clause of Velez Sarsfield’s 19-year-old Argentinian wonderkid Maximo Perrone, according to reports.

The Citizens aren’t the only English top flight team interested in Perrone’s services. Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers have also reportedly signified their interest in the midfielder, though City are believed to be the most likely destination for the South American maestro.

According to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, the Etihad outfit are set to trigger the player’s release clause which stands at roughly £5million. Should the midfielder make the move, he would join fellow Argentinian and World Cup winner Julian Alvarez on the City books, who also moved from Argentina where he was playing for River Plate.

Who is Maximo Perrone? 

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Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Perrone has been on the Velez Sarsfield’s books since the age of six, first catching the eye in the 2019 Montaigu tournament, deployed at the base of the Argentina U16 midfield that were eventually crowned champions after beating an England side that included Jude Bellingham and Jamal Musiala in the final.

Former boss Mauricio Pellegrino handed Perrone his senior debut for Velez as recently as March 2022, facing up against fellow Argentinian side Estudiantes, but the midfielder soon after established himself as a first team regular, scoring his first goal in in a Copa Libertadores match against Uruguayan side Nacional. He’s gone on to make 33 appearances for the first team, scoring three goals and providing two assists.

The 19-year-old has been targeted by several big European clubs after shining in the Argentinian top flight, and is on course to lead his country for the South American U20 Championships, managed by former West Ham United and Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano, which gets underway on January 19.

He has made seven appearances at Under-17 level for Argentina, before making his first appearance for Javier Mascherano’s U20s’ side in March in a 2-2 draw with the United States. The 19 year old, who turns 20 next week has been earmarked for greatness by many within his club, and is set to become one of the latest of prestigious products to join Premier League champions Manchester City, but what will the Citizens be getting?

Perrone’s Style of Play

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Indeed, the teenager is seen as a huge talent in Argentina and that’s down to the stellar performances from midfield for his club.

Regularly deployed as a deep-lying midfielder or a “No.6”, Perrone has consistently shown maturity and tactical intelligence that belies his tender age. One of his most notable performances since his establishment in the first team came in a must-win group game against Nacional in the Copa Libertadores, demonstrating just how crucial he is to Velez.

He recorded the most ball recoveries  (14), most passes made (46), and most successful through balls (4/5) and scored the all-important injury-time winner whilst wearing the captain’s armband – his first goal for the club in a 3-2 victory.

Typically deployed at the base of the midfield in Sarsfield’s 4-2-3-1 shape, Perrone is a ball-playing, presence showcasing world-class talents on the ball, always demanding possession whilst orchestrating it with metronomic ease. He possesses the tactical intelligence and maturity to fulfill a number of roles in the Velez midfield, either as a lone anchor man or as the deepest in a double pivot usually alongside fellow academy graduate Nicolas Garayalde.

Perrone boasts tremendous confidence and bravery to drop between his two centre-backs where he’s offered the space and vision to scan ahead the whole pitch and dictate from deep either through short and precise passes, or penetrative long-raking passes.

What’s unique about Perrone is, he’s not one to distribute the ball and stay resigned to his deep positioning. When he sees the opportunity for a quick and snappy one-two or moving into space to provide cover or an extra body in the midfield third to progress the play, he’ll perform it with stunning precision and aplomb. The 19-year-old performs like a young Sergio Busquets, with a unique swagger and assuredness that makes him an attractive component for any possession-based side.

His positioning, and body shape when receiving a pass and reading of the game always appear to allow him the time and space, seemingly already one move ahead of everyone else. He’s incredibly press-resistant, meaning he isn’t afraid to receive the ball under pressure possessing such sublime elegance, precise movement, and ball control to overcome such obstacles from his opponents.

What’s more, Perrone is an intentional and proactive deep-lying midfielder. As stated previously, it seems as if he’s a step ahead of everyone else, and that’s because he performs the aspects of his game nobody realises with such great maturity and intelligence. For example, before he receives a pass he’ll check over his shoulder or scan his surroundings to determine the next steps.

His awareness, constant scanning, and first touch allow him to beat the opposition’s pressing with great regularity, allowing his team the space and freedom to attack without many obstacles, and that’s because Perrone’s calmness and proactive play has disrupted the opposition’s first lines of defence.

With his wand of a left foot, Perrone combines elegance, composure, and efficiency, not only recycling possession well but also displaying an excellent range of passing. This past campaign, he’s averaged an 88% pass accuracy and typically makes just over 40 per game. Crucially, it’s the speed and precision at which he moves the ball which makes him such an influential and metronomic figure in Velez’ possession-based style. Additionally, he’s always on the move in search of a return pass.

Perhaps an underrated part of Perrone’s game, and it’s one that must be seen as crucial as his abilities on the ball, is his influence without it. While there have been doubts in past about his maturity and durability when coming through the youth ranks, he has made the step up to the physical side of the first team better than anticipated.

This past season, he’s excelled in his defensive work, winning on average 1.5 interceptions per game, 1.1 tackles and is only dribbled past 0.9 times per game which is quite impressive for a player his age deployed in the position he is. While he can be a bit passive or over-exuberant in his game, his efforts without the ball are an example as to well-rounded he is.

However, there is much room for improvement. He is guilty of needless and rash challenges at times, averaging 1.4 fouls per game this past season and accumulating nine yellow cards. Perrone’s youth is a factor of course, and with more refining and maturing of his game, he will learn to strike the perfect balance with and without the ball.

Perrone though, does possess the character and drive to quickly iron out the rashness in his game. At 19-years, he’s already proven he’s a born leader, captaining his team in crucial games and as seen, carrying the confidence and courage to bark orders at some of the most experienced within the Velez squad marking him out as a player well-equipped for the step up to a top side in Europe.

With a contract running up until December 2023, Manchester City are willing to pounce and acquire him at a bargain fee of just £5 million, which could well end up being an absolute steal considering he may eventually become the long-term replacement for the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri, or even playing beside them in the near future. Perrone is an incredible pick-up for the Premier League champions, as Guardiola continues to evolve his squad.

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