The Catalan club are keen on the Argentine but no a deal would be difficult
FC Barcelona's sporting department, led by Deco, is working with foresight. As they say at Can Barça, a club like the Azulgrana must always be attentive to the market. In this sense, one of the positions they want to reinforce in the future is the frontline.
Barça have signed Vitor Roque for 30 million euros plus 31 million euros in variables. The young Brazilian striker is a bet for the future and should join Xavi Hernandez's squad in January. His arrival will strengthen the centre-forward position, which currently only has Robert Lewandowski. But it is precisely the search for a replacement for the Pole that is worrying the sporting management.
Lewandowski is in his second season at the club and has a contract until 30 June 2026, but his final year at the club is conditional on him playing a certain number of games. The ex-Bayern striker, now injured and fighting for a place in the clásico against Real Madrid, is a player who takes great care of himself, but he is already 35 years old. That is why Barça are not at all sure that he will finish his contract. He was already approached last summer by the Saudi Arabian league, although he completely discarded his departure to an emerging championship which is still light years away from the big European leagues.
And as a possible replacement for Lewandowski, Barça are keeping a close eye on Argentinian striker Julián Álvarez, a player that Xavi and the sporting dept. are very keen on. A World Cup winner with Argentina in Qatar, he is considered one of the most promising strikers in the game. Possibly for this reason, Manchester City did not hesitate to sign him in January 2022 for just over 21 million euros, leaving the player on loan at his former club, River Plate, until the summer of the same year.
Last season, Álvarez lived in Erling Haaland's shadow, coming on as a substitute in many of the games for a City side that won a historic treble with Pep Guardiola on the bench. The Argentinian made a total of 49 appearances and scored 17 goals, but many of them he did not start. This season, his role has increased. He continues to live in the shadow of Haaland, but injuries to some important players like De Bruyne and the poor form of Grealish have given him many more minutes and opened the door to the starting line-up. He has made a total of thirteen appearances, scoring six goals and dishing out five assists. Of those thirteen games, eleven have seen Ávarez start.
Pros & cons
Xavi likes the Argentinian because of his versatility and his ability to find the net. He can play as a pure centre-forward, but if Haaland does not allow anyone to occupy that position, Álvarez performs equally well as a playmaker behind the more advanced man and also as a winger on either flank.
If Barça decide to go for him, they will have a point in their favour. According to some media reports, Álvarez has a release clause. And this would not be very high. According to the same media, when the Argentine signed for Manchester City, he was given an exit clause of 50 million euros. That's why Barça consider him to be a market opportunity.
Several aspects would play against Barça. The fundamental one is that Guardiola is in love with Álvarez's game and that neither he nor Txiki Begiristain, the English club's technical secretary, would make it easy for them. That is why City renewed the Argentine striker's contract until 30 June 2028 shortly before the end of last season. It is a sign of the great confidence that the Premier League club have in one of the best young players on the planet.
Topics with the letter