Men's Team

Guardiola outlines Julian Alvarez strengths and potential role

Pep Guardiola says the signing of Julian Alvarez is good business for Manchester City as he explained how the Argentine might be utilised once he arrives at the Etihad Stadium.

The 22-year-old signed a five-and-a-half-year deal at the Club in January, but will remain on loan at River Plate until the end of the season.

Predominantly used as a striker, Alvarez has scored 36 goals in 96 appearances for the Buenos Aires side, but can also operate out wide and has impressed Guardiola with his movement, desire and work off the ball.

However, it is his goalscoring instincts which have really caught the eye and Guardiola envisages him playing centrally once he joins up with City in the summer.

“Up front, in the middle,” he said when asked where Alvarez may fit into his team.

“I see a player more in positions between the pockets and the striker. A guy with this sense of goal has to play close to the goal.

“For the age, for the price, for many reasons for the future it is a really good deal. He is a guy who has a sense of goal, the quality, the movement in behind - a street player.

“He is so dynamic. I think when he is playing the goal is there in his mind with the way he finishes and makes the movements over five metres.

“He has the desire, the passion and the strength without the ball.”

Still in the fledgling stage of his career, Alvarez will be joining a City squad blessed with a number of promising young talents.

Phil Foden is still only 21, 19-year-old’s Cole Palmer and James McAtee are both considered to have significant potential and the likes of Romeo Lavia and Luke Mbete continue to train regularly with the first team.

Guardiola feels it is important to integrate young players into his squad, believing their desire and eagerness has a positive impact on the senior professionals and in Alvarez City have signed a player who stands out for his hunger.

“He is so young and you see that,” added the boss.

“He is hungry. At that age it is so nice to have. It can refresh so many things in a team when you have that.

“That is why I love to work with academy players, when they have the talent and skills, and they are good here.

“When that happens, it is so productive for the senior players that we have because they produce something new in terms of rhythm, with no complaints.

“I like to have 15 or 16 top players otherwise you can’t compete. The rest I like to have from the academy, but they have to be good, or it makes no sense.”

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