Manchester City chose to loan back Julian Alvarez to River Plate after signing the forward in the Winter transfer window for several reasons. One of them was that the talented forward needed more time to develop before making the transition to the Premier League.
Famed for being a very difficult league to play in, especially for players coming in from other parts of the world, they are usually loaned to other European teams in order to gain the experience necessary to play for a top side.
Therefore, the general expectation was that Alvarez will be loaned out to a European side in order to acclimatise when he finally makes the move to England. But the Argentine has been rewriting the script by virtue of his performance at Plate since the deal was concluded.
The 22-year-old recently set a record as the first player ever to score six goals in a single match for River Plate. He was the star of the show in a recent Copa Libertadores match in which River Plate ran out 8-1 winners against Alianza Lima.
His all-round numbers for the club have been so impressive the head coach is tempted to want to keep him for much longer.
This season he has so far scored 18 league goals in 21 appearances for the side despite starting just 17 games.
The forward has also stepped up to the Argentine national team and has become a regular in the side. That speaks to his maturity and readiness to play for any top side.
For sure, breaking into Pep Guardiola’s team is not for any type of player, but Alvarez’s numbers and overall performance show he is ready for the step up.
If his performance so far is anything to go by, he is not coming to Manchester to just make up the numbers. Just like his age mates Phil Foden and Erling Haaland, he can slot into the City frontline and a fit in seamlessly. Much can be expected of the partnership, with goals set to flow freely.
As rumours continue to swirl about the exit of Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling this summer, that will create ample room for Alvarez to slot in. But even if the latter chooses to stay, Alvarez will still have sufficient playing time, especially as the Blues compete on several fronts these days.
That will give him the perfect opportunity to slowly work his way into the team, learning from other experienced stars.
For a player already primed to perform at the highest level, he could be a real revelation at City.
A careful observation of the kind of goals he scores shows a player who is very clinical in front of goal. His versatility also gives the manager the freedom to utilise different tactics for different games and even confound opponents.
He can be paired upfront with Haaland in a 4-4-2 lineup or play from the wings in the usual 4-3-3. His ability to operate from the midfield is also an asset that will afford him more game time.
With such an eye for goal, it means having him on the pitch at any point in time almost guarantees goals. He is also very good on the ball and can provide assists as well. That will be great news for Haaland who will be at the end of such assists.