All the focus at Man City has been on Haaland but that could go well with his new fellow striker Alvarez
JACK GAUGHAN: All the focus at Man City has been on Erling Haaland but that could go well with his new fellow striker Julian Alvarez… ‘The Spider’ can play wide, score with both feet and has the potential to become a real bargain for just £ 14m
- Pablo Zabaleta took his compatriot Julian Alvarez aside for a chat on the US tour
- Alvarez, nicknamed the Spider, comes to less fanfare than Erling Haaland
- However, is considered one of the most exciting young talents in the world
- Sergio Aguero convinced the young Argentine to sign for the club in January
Spider-Man isn’t usually overshadowed, but then again, he’s never met the Terminator before.
The focus around Manchester City is on Erling Haland – a brutal goalscorer and a global phenomenon – and that might well suit the wiry Julian Alvarez, whose arrival was far more reserved.
Alvarez, nicknamed The Spider, has been interacting with his new teammates for the first time over the past week and is ready to make his debut against Club America in the early hours of Thursday morning Texas.
Julian Alvarez arrived at the club with much less fanfare than Erling Haaland earlier this month
His unusual move is to go straight from Argentina to the Premier League, where it’s more common for South American stars to stop elsewhere in Europe beforehand. Sergio Aguero, who sold the idea of joining City to Alvarez earlier this year, is a prime example.
While all eyes are on Haaland, who became known as The Terminator by Borussia Dortmund fans, Alvarez is here with real pedigree. His older brothers came up with the nickname, claiming that tagging him was akin to attacking someone with more than two legs, and his record for River Plate has been exemplary.
Seventeen goals and six assists in 24 games for River demonstrated Pep Guardiola’s belief that City wanted him for the coming season. At £14m, this deal has the potential to become a real bargain for a striker who can also operate wide and score with both feet.
The Argentine (centre right) will be hoping to hit the ground running like his compatriot Sergio Aguero all those years ago
The forward is two-footed and can play both long and through the middle
Pablo Zabaleta, a city icon out here on ambassadorial duty, grabbed his compatriot for a chat on the plane over the weekend. “I told him that the club is completely different from when I first came to Manchester,” said Zabaleta. “I just said, ‘Listen, you’re probably in one of the biggest clubs in the world right now.’ There is no better place than Manchester City considering the facilities, the team and the manager.
“He just has to work hard and show how good he is. He will have to be patient because there is competition. But at City you always have 50 games per season and there are many ways to play.
“He has to be ready to perform.”
The Argentine became something of an icon at River Plate – helped by a performance in the Copa Libertadores in which he scored six goals
Last week he spent time with his new teammates in the USA for the first time
Manchester City fans are hoping Alvarez can make a similar impact as their last Argentinian centre-forward
Aguero is delighted with Alvarez and tells friends he has the potential to excite fans more than he did in a decade in which he became the club’s most accomplished forward. Expectations in Argentina have clearly gone through the roof and the excitement surrounding Alvarez is apparently one reason City are opting not to replace Raheem Sterling.
“These players come with great expectations. It’s a big step for him,” said Zabaleta. “If there’s anything I can do to help Julian, the advice, I will 100 percent do it.”
Having Aguero and Zabaleta on hand should prove invaluable – as his father Gustavo and a brother are also moving to the North West. The magnitude of this transfer and what it means for Alvarez’s small hometown of Calchin was made clear upon its unveiling as his entourage expanded into double digits.
“You feel at home at the club,” added Zabaleta. “Hopefully Julian can stay as long as Sergio and score some nice goals. He’s a total striker, one of the best in South America.” Ends
Pablo Zabaleta, seen here in Houston on the club’s pre-season tour, said Manchester City feels like home