As reported in recent days, Manchester City are close to agreeing a fee for striker Julian Alvarez. The River Plate star has been viewed as a replacement for his compatriot Sergio Aguero, who left City last summer and recently retired from the game due to a heart condition.
Alvarez would remain at his current club until the end of the season should a deal be finalised, but what will his signing mean for the club’s pursuit of Erling Haaland?
Although manager Pep Guardiola has expressed his admiration for Haaland, the blues have so far not made a move for the Norwegian. When last season’s attempt to bring England striker Harry Kane to Manchester failed, the blues could have turned to the Borussia Dortmund hitman, but instead, decided to go for the title without a recognised striker.
Guardiola’s gamble has so far paid off, with the blues knocking in an incredible 83 goals in 33 matches in all competitions and have only failed to score 3 times in the league. In addition, City have missed a host of chances throughout the campaign, which has prompted some to ask how many City would score with a striker of Haaland’s calibre up front.
The blues have never ruled themselves out of the race for his signature, just as much as they have never included themselves either, but it is unlikely that signing Alvarez will change should they decide to pursue Haaland.
City are not a team to pass up an opportunity for a top-quality player should it arise, but it has been reported that Haaland prefers a move to Madrid than Manchester or anywhere else in England for that matter. However, the Norwegian striker has a wealth of experience on the continent, which Alvarez doesn’t possess, making him ideal for the elusive Champions League campaign while the Argentine settles.
And should City sign both, blues fans could be in for an electric strike force next season that will have opposing supporters and journalists crying rivers of salty water for years to come. But what happened if Haaland does move to Madrid?
City could actually end up in a difficult situation in regard to strikers should Madrid sign their top target. Alvarez could remain at River Plate for longer than expected, depending on his club’s performance in the Copa Libertadores. The blues have been in a strikerless situation before and will continue if necessary, but it would be nice to have a recognised target man up front for a change.
There have been rumours that Guardiola could once again go for Kane should that scenario play out. The Spurs striker could well be set for another trophyless campaign with only the FA Cup a feasible target.
That move could irritate City fans, who refuse to see their club pay over the odds for a striker who will be past his prime in a couple of years and would rather see players such as Liam Delap and Cole Palmer make the jump to the first team. Palmer has already impressed this season with his limited opportunities and may be ready to step up in the coming year or two.
Delap, on the other hand, has not gone out on loan as previously suggested and, with the possibility of Alvarez arriving, may have a choice to make – stay and work with the new striker or pursue his career elsewhere. If Kane or Haaland arrives alongside the Argentine, Delap may feel he has to leave to further his career.
City fans would hate to see the youngster leave, particularly if it is the England captain that arrives, but, if someone of Haaland’s quality was to arrive, it may be beneficial for him to remain with the club and learn from his experience. As for Palmer, his future place seems more secure and is growing and learning with each appearance and will definitely be one to watch in years to come.