Manchester United have been linked with a move for Argentine sensation Julian Alvarez ever since Argentine newspaper Ole reported the Red Devils made an enquiry with River Plater over the striker.
Alvarez has a release clause of £17 million and Ole reports Alvarez’s agent Fernando Hidalgo is flying to Europe to hold talks with potential interested parties.
The fee is a cheap one, coming in at twice what United paid for Facundo Pellistri, who was far less proven, and roughly the same figures United paid to sign Amad, before all the add-ons come into play.
Alvarez is an Argentine international already, a Copa Libertadores winner, a league winner, and has just finished the season as top goalscorer, netting 24 in all competitions. And he’s only 21-years-old.
Lautaro Martinez a blueprint
If the generally underwhelming impact of prospects Pellistri and Amad so far puts a dampener on a potential move for Alvarez, then look for a comparison with Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez instead, a truer like-for-like with the River Plate forward.
Inter Milan paid £19 million to sign Martinez in 2018 when he was just 20. Martinez like Alvarez had just been capped by Argentina, and had impressed with Argentine top flight side Racing Club.
Martinez’s final season at Racing saw him score 18 goals in 27 games, with 13 coming in the league. This was a strong record, although slightly below Alvarez’s 24 and 18 in the league.
Since joining Inter, Lautaro Martinez has become one of Europe’s hottest properties, with The Mail reporting he has a £100 million release clause.
Barcelona are one of the sides linked over the past 12 months with paying up, along with Real Madrid.
Martinez has scored 60 goals for Inter Milan since joining, and is looking to lead the Nerrazurri to a second Serie A title in a row.
So while United’s last investment in a South American talent, Pellistri, may not pay off, he was a different profile of player, featuring for Penarol in Uruguay with just 37 top flight appearances and two goals.
Alvarez is a more proven commodity, and Martinez’s successful transition to European football suggests the River Plate forward can be a success. United should be encouraged by this.
For the price of just £17 million, United could be buying a player who is the next £100 million striker. He has got the potential, and if he stars at next year’s World Cup, his transfer value will soar.
Having missed out on Erling Haaland for a similar fee two years ago, and seeing his value also rocket since, United should not let this chance pass by.
With a striker needed to offset the imminent departure of Edinson Cavani in the summer and Anthony Martial too, a move for Martinez could be the perfect fit.
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