Julián Álvarez’s move to Manchester City from River Plate was rubber-stamped on Tuesday this week.
The young Argentinian striker has signed a deal at the Etihad Stadium until 2027.
💶 Julián Álvarez to City: The details
City fans will have to wait a little bit longer to see the 21-year-old in a sky-blue jersey, as he’ll be spending the rest of this campaign back on loan with River Plate, the club to which the Citizens will pay up to €18.5m for Álvarez’s services.
It’s widely believed that Pep Guardiola regards Álvarez as one for the future, and that claim is backed up by the fact that he won’t be part of City’s plans for 2021-22. It’s not out of the question that the Premier League champions won’t still be in the market for a top-shelf striker when the summer comes around. But what can we expect from Álvarez when he finally makes his debut in England later this year?
⚽️ Julian Álvarez profile
Álvarez became a regular starter for River Plate after the pandemic struck, primarily as a sole striker but he’s also capable of holding the ball up as a target man or playing the creative role in a strike-partnership. Álvarez has been capped five times for Argentina after making his Albiceleste debut in June 2021 and was part of their Copa América winning squad under Lionel Scaloni.
Álvarez relies on his predatory instincts in front of goal to bury chances, usually after taking the minimum amount of touches before getting his bearings. Efficiency is the name of the game with the youngster, who adopts a “touch and shoot” philosophy when it’s appropriate and advantageous to do so.
— Colin (@GoalPalmer) January 21, 2022
What’s also notable about Álvarez is his adeptness at protecting and holding onto the ball and involving his teammates as attacks develop, despite his relatively small frame. He can pick a pass/through-ball or beat his marker with a dribble in equal measure, such is the level of technical quality he possesses, but he isn’t hesitant to have a pop on goal from long range either.
📊 Álvarez’s individual stats
As the image below d displays (via Stats Perform’s Analyst), Álvarez’s direct goal output has exploded of late. Overall in Argentina’s Liga Profesional in 2021 he scored 18 times, making him the division’s top-scorer as River Plate galloped to its 37th top-flight title.
That league triumph, combined with the fact that he’s already tasted glory with his country and Copa Libertadores honours with River in 2018, means that he’s a young man who knows how it feels to perform on big stages and win important prizes.
Now, the next step for Julián Álvarez will be to transfer his considerable skill set to the English Premier League in 2022-23. Pep Guardiola will be quietly hopeful that he has a genuine gem on his hands.