Manchester City have confirmed the signing of Argentina international forward Julian Alvarez from River Plate in a deal worth a reported £14million ($18.8m).

Alvarez has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League champions but will stay with River on a loan that will last until at least July and could be extended.

He had been linked with a number of Europe's biggest clubs after scoring 24 goals in 46 games for River in all competitions during an impressive 2021.

That form saw him earn his first senior Argentina cap in June and he has gone on to feature a further five times for his national side.

City announced Alvarez's arrival on their official website on Monday, the day the attacker turned 22.

"Julian is a player we have monitored for some time," said Txiki Begiristain, City's director of football.

"He is capable of operating in a number of attacking roles, and we firmly believe he's one of the best young attacking players in South America.

"I am so happy we have managed to bring him to Manchester City. I really believe we can provide him with the right conditions to fulfil his potential and become a top player."

Speaking prior to the deal being announced, River president Jorge Brito said he was hopeful a Copa Libertadores run would see Alvarez stay on loan at the club beyond July.

City are also reportedly open to letting the youngster spend the second half of the year with another team, potentially a sister club within the City Football Group.

Alvarez, who previously had a trial with Real Madrid, is considered one of the hottest young talents in South American football after lighting up the Argentine Primera Division.

He scored 20 and assisted a further 12 goals in 36 games in the division last year, with those 32 direct goal involvements at least six more than any other player in 2021.

Cordoba-born Alvarez has won six trophies during his four seasons with River, including the Primera Division last season when leading the division for goals with 18.

Anthony Martial has made no secret of his desire to leave Manchester United in the January window – and the France international appears to have been granted his wish.

Restricted to just four starts in all competitions this season, Martial has very much been on the periphery at United in what is his seventh campaign at the club.

However, there are no shortage of suitors for Martial and it looks increasingly likely that the 26-year-old will spend the remainder of the campaign away from Old Trafford.


TOP STORY – SECOND TIME LUCKY FOR SEVILLA

Sevilla had a loan bid for Martial rejected earlier this month, but Goal reports that the issues have been ironed out and the out-of-favour forward is now set to undergo a medical.

Juventus are said to have been among a number of other European sides in the running to sign Martial, but Sevilla were always his preferred destination.

The LaLiga club are expected to pay a loan fee for the former Monaco man, potentially as much as €5.96million (£5m), while the player himself will accept a cut in wages.


ROUND-UP

– After growing frustrated in their attempt to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina, The Sun reports that Arsenal may now instead go after Real Madrid's Luka Jovic this month.

– Calciomercato claims that Serie A leaders Inter are close to strengthening their squad with the addition of striker Felipe Caicedo from Genoa.

Watford are set to move quickly on the back of sacking head coach Claudio Ranieri by bringing in Roy Hodgson as early as Tuesday, according to Sky Sports.

– Goal suggest that Bayern Munich are targeting Chelsea's Andreas Christensen on a free transfer after Niklas Sule turned down the offer of a new contract in Bavaria.

Manchester City are increasingly confident of wrapping up a deal for Julian Alvarez. However, the Daily Mail reports that the striker will initially remain on loan with River Plate.

Newcastle United have made a fresh approach for Man Utd winger Jesse Lingard, according to The Telegraph. The Magpies are happy to pay a £6m loan fee.

So now we know: Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona.

Having pushed hard to force through an exit a year ago, the Argentina superstar appeared set to commit his long-term future to the Spanish club by signing a new deal this offseason.

However, his Camp Nou days now appear over due to "economic and structural obstacles", despite reportedly agreeing to take a 50 per cent wage reduction. Put simply, the dire financial situation means Barca cannot keep their prized asset.

Unless there is another dramatic twist to the saga (and we definitely should not rule that out just yet), Messi must find a new home.

So where could the six-time Ballon d'Or winner end up? The list of options appears to be short, albeit varied.

Hello, Paris!

Paris Saint-Germain are the early front-runners in this unexpected race, and rightly so. Thanks to owners Qatar Sports Investments, the Ligue 1 side have the financial backing to make Messi a tempting offer, plus they would give him a chance of Champions League glory once again – they were beaten finalists in 2020, then knocked out in the last four the following season.

Compatriot Mauricio Pochettino is there, as too are international team-mates Leandro Paredes and Angel Di Maria. When you add in another familiar face in former Barca colleague Neymar, it suddenly seems like a cosy, obvious fit. Such a signing could also help sway Kylian Mbappe to sign a new contract, or at least make it far more palatable to consider cashing in on the Frenchman before his deal runs out.

The Pep reunion tour

A year ago, when Messi made us look up exactly what a burofax is, Manchester City appeared the likely landing spot. A once rock-solid relationship with Barca appeared in tatters, amid disgruntlement over what was happening both on and off the pitch. Moving to England would have finally answered the old line of, 'Yeah, but can he do it on a wet Tuesday in [insert team here]?', as well as reuniting him with Pep Guardiola, the coach who twice steered Barca to Champions League glory.

However, City have seemingly moved on since missing out on Messi. Not so long after Barca's statement was released, the Premier League champions confirmed the signing of Jack Grealish for £100million. Harry Kane has also been heavily linked with them, and the England captain will not come cheap (certainly if Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has anything to do with it). Even with City, there is a limit to how much you can spend.

Made in Chelsea

So how about Messi moves to the Premier League anyway, but just not to the club where everyone once expected? Chelsea have not been mentioned too much as a possible destination, either last year or now, but they have the resources and are seemingly keen to add to their attacking options, considering rumours of moves for Erling Haaland and, more recently, Romelu Lukaku. Unlike that duo, Messi is unattached and available for nothing (in terms of a transfer fee at least).

However, those links to central strikers suggest head coach Thomas Tuchel and the Chelsea hierarchy have a certain idea of what they want to add to the squad – and it may not be a 34-year-old who would require a rethink over the entire structure of the team. While Messi would no doubt enhance the Blues, west London appears unlikely to be welcoming him into the neighbourhood.

ML-YES!

Could Messi be set to take the well-trodden path from Europe to the United States? MLS has appeared a viable option for him at some stage in his playing days – he even said so himself in an interview with La Sexta in December 2020: "I would like to play in the United States someday, it's always been one of my dreams... but I don't know if it will happen!" Well, that dream could now become a reality, with the competition having a history of attracting big names in the twilight stages of their careers.

David Beckham did just that, and now he is heavily involved with Inter Miami – perhaps the leading MLS option for Messi. New York and Los Angeles could factor into consideration, with the chance for a global superstar to take the plunge in a major market. In truth, though, it seems this idea could come to fruition further down the line, rather than in the coming weeks.

No place like home…

While he has been at Barcelona since his teenage years, coming through the famous La Masia youth academy, Messi started out with Newell's Old Boys in Argentina. A move back to his hometown of Rosario would be a wonderful way to bookend his illustrious playing days. However, having scored 30 goals in 35 LaLiga games last term, he shows no signs of his ridiculously lofty standards slipping just yet.

Diego Maradona did have a brief stint there, with Messi revealing a Newell's number 10 shirt after scoring against Osasuna to pay tribute to the Argentina legend, who died in November 2020. Still, after finally securing a first international trophy with the national team, winning this year's Copa America on Brazilian soil, a return to his roots appears unlikely.

Cristiano Ronaldo's future beyond this season has been a hot topic of discussion.

The 36-year-old Portuguese forward appears set to exit Juventus after three seasons in Turin, despite being contracted for another year.

Ronaldo has been linked with former club Real Madrid and a switch to the United States, but there may be another option.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO IN UTD-JUVE SWAP DEAL

Manchester United want to sign Cristiano Ronaldo this off-season and would consider a swap deal with Juventus for Paul Pogba, according to Calciomercato.

Ronaldo played for United from 2003 to 2009 in the earlier part of his career, making almost 300 appearances for the Red Devils before his blockbuster move to Real Madrid.

Pogba, who spent time at Juventus from 2012 to 2016, has also been the subject of transfer speculation.

Juventus have this week been linked with a mega swap deal with United as they look for a transfer shake-up this off-season.

ROUND-UP

- The Independent reports Harry Kane's preference, if he was to leave Tottenham, is to remain in England and join either United or Manchester City.

- Juve forward Paulo Dybala has attracted interest from Premier League pair United and Chelsea, claims Tuttosport.

- United are also keen on an off-season move for Madrid defender Raphael Varane, according to The Mail. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United have also been linked with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla star Jules Kounde and Villarreal defender Pau Torres.

- The Daily Mail reports Bayern Munich are bullish they can sign Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland as Robert Lewandowski's heir if he remains in Germany for one more season amid widespread interest this upcoming off-season. Haaland has been heavily linked with City, United, Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

- Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira is wanted by Argentine giants Boca Juniors, reports TyC Sports. Torreira is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid.

Lucas Torreira is hopeful Arsenal will grant him permission to join Boca Juniors at the end of the season to fulfil the wish of his family following the death of his mother.

The Uruguay international has been given time off by Atletico Madrid, whom he has spent the season on loan with, after his mother lost her battle with coronavirus on Monday.

He is due to return to Arsenal at the end of the season and has another year to run on his contract, but he is ready to bring an end to his eight-year spell in Europe and return closer to home.

"I am trying to understand the situation. It is difficult to come to terms with it but as time passes, we will come to live with this pain," he told ESPN Argentina.

"My mother was 53 years old and died from coronavirus. There was an outbreak in Fray Bentos and she spent 11 days fighting but on Monday morning I received the worst news.

"I asked Atletico for some time off. 'Cholo' (head coach Diego Simeone) understood everything and they gave me a week, but I asked to stay for a little longer. 

"On Sunday I will probably return. I have to do my duty and life must continue. Atletico have been very good to me and it's important.

"It's not a violent emotion, a crazy decision because of my mother. I have always said that I want to play for Boca. I'm dying to play for Boca and I will always say it. 

"The night my mother died, one of the first to hear the news was my agent. I told him I don't want to play in Europe anymore, I want to play for Boca.

"I want to be close to my home, my family. I have a contract at Arsenal and I am on loan at Atletico but I want to go to Boca. I hope the clubs can agree."

Torreira, a reported £26million signing from Sampdoria in July 2018, fell out of favour under Mikel Arteta at Arsenal and has struggled for playing time in his season on loan with Atletico.

The 25-year-old has started just five times in all competitions, the most recent of those coming against Cadiz in January.

"It's been two years since I was enjoying myself personally. I haven't had continuity," he said. "Arsenal hurt me and at Atletico, I don't play like I want.

"I just want to play for Boca. I have made my decision. I will do it for my father. He asked me and I'm going to do it."

Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani is another Premier League player that has been linked with a switch to Boca, who won a 34th Argentine Primera Division title last season.

Asked about the prospect of linking up with international team-mate Cavani at the iconic La Bombonera, Torreira said: "I talk a lot with Cavani, he's a great guy.

"I hope I can come and share a team with him. We have a nice relationship."

Could Manchester United turn to a Wolves star?

United have long been linked with Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho.

But the Red Devils are reportedly interested in Pedro Neto.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN NETO SWOOP

Manchester United are considering a £50million move for Wolves star Pedro Neto , according to The Sun.

Borussia Dortmund's  Jadon Sancho  has topped United's list of attacking targets – the Premier League giants almost signed the England international at the start of the season.

But United see Portuguese winger Neto as an alternative at Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sun reports Serie A leaders Inter have joined the chase for Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero , who is out of contract at season's end. City's all-time leading goalscorer has been linked with Barcelona , Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea . The Nerazzurri are also reportedly monitoring Edinson Cavani 's situation. The United forward, who signed a one-year deal at the start of the season, is rumoured to be talking to Boca Juniors .

Real Madrid will pay David Alaba , his father and agent €20m if he arrives from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, claims Mundo Deportivo. Alaba's contract will expire at the end of the season and the Austria international has been tipped to move to the Santiago Bernabeu. However, Barca , Liverpool and PSG have also been linked.

- Calciomercato says Roma , Inter and Milan are interested in Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso .

Milan are considering a move for CSKA Moscow star Nikola Vlasic  should Hakan Calhanoglu leave on a free transfer, reports Calciomercato. While the Croatia international has a €35m release clause for foreign clubs, Russian giants CSKA could settle for €28-30m.

Santiago Garcia, a striker for Godoy Cruz, has died aged 30, the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) has confirmed.

The former Uruguay Under-20 attacker, nicknamed 'El Morro', was reportedly found dead in his apartment in Mendoza, Argentina on Saturday.

"We regret with deep sadness and shock the death of Uruguayan player Santiago Damiano Garcia. Our condolences to his family and friends," a statement from the AUF read.

Godoy Cruz posted on Twitter: "You were a hero, you were a goalscorer, you were a friend and a member of the family, you were everything a person wants to be when he gets a ball, today you have to be eternal and infinite for all of us.

"So, thank you very much Morro, thank you for all the joy you gave the Tombino people. Rest in peace."

Garcia began his career in professional football at Nacional in 2008 and had spells at Athletico Paranaense and Kasimpasa before returning to the Montevideo club in 2013. He joined Godoy Cruz in 2016 after a stint with Uruguayan side River Plate.

Nacional posted on their official Twitter account: "There are no words nor consolation. Immense grief over the death of one of the most beloved players and fans in Nacional's recent history. We all cry for 'El Morro'."

Garcia finished the 2017-18 season as the highest-scoring player in the Argentine Primera Division with 17 goals as Godoy Cruz finished as runners-up to Boca Juniors.

He had been set to leave the club following a public falling-out with club president Jose Manzur.

Sergio Ramos is reportedly set to quit Real Madrid and is eyeing Manchester United, while David Alaba is apparently not a target for Manchester City.

Ramos, 34, seems set to leave Madrid at the end of the season with his contract expiring.

With the defender appearing no closer to agreeing to a new deal, he could make the move to the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – RAMOS TO QUIT MADRID, EYES MAN UTD

Ramos is ready to quit Real Madrid and his camp are set to target Manchester United as his next destination, according to the Mirror.

Manchester City, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Everton have also been linked with the defender.

Ramos has been at Real Madrid since 2005, winning five LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other honours.

 

ROUND-UP

- Another defender set to move at season's end is David Alaba, with the Bayern Munich star linked with numerous European giants as his contract comes to an end. But 90min reports Manchester City will not be making an approach for the Austria international.

- Amid an injury crisis at centre-back, Liverpool could sign a defender before Monday's transfer deadline. The Evening Standard reports they are interested in Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

- Arsenal may not be done in this transfer window, either. The Mirror says Arsenal are considering a move for Crystal Palace left-back Patrick van Aanholt.

- Marcos Rojo is set to get a Manchester United exit. Sky Sports reports the defender will terminate his contract, which was due to expire at the end of the season, before joining Boca Juniors on a free transfer.

Liverpool are reportedly interested in Sergio Ramos, while Real Madrid have a successor for Zinedine Zidane lined up.

Premier League champions Liverpool are linked with centre-backs due to long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

And Ramos is apparently a target.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL INTERESTED IN RAMOS

Liverpool are interested in Real Madrid defender Ramos, according to El Chiringuito.

The 34-year-old's future at Madrid is uncertain with his contract expiring at the end of the season.

Also at Liverpool, Fabrizio Romano reports they are yet to open talks to sign Lille defender Sven Botman.

 

ROUND-UP

- Zidane was under pressure at Real Madrid earlier in the season, and the LaLiga giants have his replacement in mind. AS reports Raul – who is in charge of Real Madrid Castilla – is seen as the natural heir to the Frenchman.

Christian Eriksen is expected to leave Inter, but just where to remains to be seen. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A giants are yet to receive an offer for the midfielder, who has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal.

- With Diego Costa having departed, Atletico Madrid are said to be looking for another forward. The Daily Mail reports Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik is at the top of their list, while Espanyol's Raul de Tomas and Real Betis' Loren Moron are of interest.

Manchester City are linked to Barcelona star Lionel Messi, but they may have a younger version to target. talkSPORT reports the Premier League club are plotting a move for 17-year-old Estudiantes winger Dario Sarmiento, who has been dubbed "mini Messi".

- Sergio Romero looks set to leave Manchester United. The Manchester Evening News reports the goalkeeper has bid farewell to his team-mates ahead of an expected move to Boca Juniors.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.