Who is reported Manchester United target Julian Alvarez?

Whether Edinson Cavani leaves Manchester United in the next transfer window, or next summer when his contract expires, the striker’s departure is an inevitability.

United need to find a young replacement for Cavani, and there is one big ‘Mino Raiola sized’ reason to back away from Erling Haaland despite his talent.

It’s possible United could turn to South America for a Cavani replacement. According to Argentine newspaper Ole, United have made an enquiry after River Plate striker Julian Alvarez.

Along with Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid, United have registered an interest in the striker in recent weeks.

Photo by ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP via Getty Images

Who is Julian Alvarez?

1) Julian Alvarez is River Plate’s top goalscorer, who has just scored 18 goals in 21 league games, while providing a further seven assists, averaging a strike every 88 minutes. Alvarez has scored 24 goals in all competitions this past season.

2) Argentina have already handed Alvarez his first international caps, he made his debut in June against Chile. He is still yet to make his first start, although currently has five substitute appearances, including 15 minutes against Brazil in their last game.

3) Alvarez’s contract at River Plate only runs until December 2022. Ole report he has a release clause of around 20 million Euros. River are currently working on trying to sign him to a new deal, but the striker’s intentions remain unclear.

4) Alvarez, 21, came through River’s academy and made his debut in October 2018, when he was 18-years-old. Current River boss Marcelo Gallardo was the same manager who handed him his debut.

5) Already in his young career, Alvarez is amassing a tidy medal collection. He was part of Argentina’s Copa America winning squad, and also has a Copa Libertadores medal from 2018, when he made his debut in the competition in the final against Boca Juniors. He helped River win the league title this past season for the first time in his career.

What they say about him…

Manager Gallardo recently praised his progress, quoted by Infobae: “He has maturity, a good head and great physical performance. It is an example for the team and also for the supporters.”

Former Argentine international Abel Balbo told Archy Sport: “I think he is a nine and a half, because he can throw himself back and make the team play. He is a very technical player with a great vision of the game.”

Argentina boss Julian Scaloni praised his versatility, telling Ole: “Julián can play on the flanks when we put three forwards. Obviously there he loses a bit because he is a born striker, but he also has the possibility of helping the team because physically he is a boy who works and can play in any of the attacking positions.”

Photo by Manuel Cortina/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Should United make a move?

This is the type of deal we would love United to take a gamble on. Alvarez is a natural goalscorer, he is young, is developing a winning mentality already, and has a cheap release clause.

United rarely buy from South America, however. The deal to sign Facundo Pellistri in 2020 was the first deal the club have done from the continent since buying Guillermo Varela in 2013, also from Penarol.

Ralf Rangnick’s appointment should see United become more open minded when it comes to scouting and player recruitment, and Alvarez ticks the boxes for him. With United needing a striker to replace outgoing forwards Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial.

A move for Alvarez could be an exciting one, and while its one to be aware of, its not necessarily one we expect United to do. In the short-term, a bigger priority will be to sign a central midfielder, or two, before the club press ahead with adding a striker.

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