Manchester City made a statement in the January transfer window by sealing the signing of the next big thing in South American football, Julian Alvarez. Beating other European heavyweights to the signature of a much sought-after player just shows how far City has come.
The club has gone from trying to catch up with the traditional heavyweights to now dictating the pace in the boardroom, the transfer market and on the field.
Having a star-studded team with every position well stocked (except for the striking position), many wondered where the forward would fit in. That’s because it is believed that the position is reserved for a world-class striker in his prime to fill the void left by the legendary Sergio Aguero.
The general consensus was that the Argentine hotshot was not ready for the step up to the highest level of European football yet. And so this, among other reasons, contributed to his loan deal to remain with the Argentine side at least until the end of the season.
Like all great players do, the 22-year-old is speaking loud and clear, with his feet, to those who still have doubts about his talent and his readiness to make the transition from South America to Europe.
True, there is a huge gap in the standard of football between the two continents. Yet, to the trained eye, it’s usually easy to spot a special talent that can light up any league even when still unheralded.
Lionel Messi, Ronaldo de Lima, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Luis Suarez, and Neymar Jr. are just a few examples that shone brightly from an early age.
Neymar, for example, became a sensation even while still playing in his boyhood club Santos. He was already making the headlines while still in the Brazilian league.
And when Barcelona brought him to Europe, he hit the ground running. He has not looked back since.
Some players are like that. They are special talents, in a class of their own and they shine wherever they go.
If his impressive records of 24 goals and 15 assists last season and making the step up to the national team are not enough reasons to convince those still in doubt, his recent performance for his club should be.
He grabbed a hat trick for River Plate on Wednesday, his third for the club already in his young career.
That helped his team secure a 4-1 victory against Patronato in the Argentinian League Cup. Starting in the centre forward position, he opened his account in style in just the second game of the 2022 season.
He scored twice in the first half before netting a third early in the second half. His comments after the game demonstrate how much of a team player he is.
“We have to continue working to be more continuous in that. From that the goals come. As long as it serves to help the team there I am,” said Alvarez
“I reach the goals thanks to them. They are the ones who assist me. We work as a team to reach the goal or to whatever, always together.”
One man Alvarez will be looking to follow in the footsteps of when he finally settles in at the Etihad Stadium will be fellow countryman Sergio Aguero. Coincidentally, the City legend was watching the game and cheering on the Blues' latest acquisition.
Aguero, was watching the game while live streaming on Twitch, and couldn’t help but become a commentator for a short while.
“Here it is... Alvarez, goal!! Great goal from Alvarez,” shouted Aguero.
With support like that and the excitement building among City fans, the 22-year-old will find the Etihad Stadium a very welcoming home when he steps out to represent the club in the near future.