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Barcelona: Xavi keen on move for River Plate striker Julian Alvarez

River Plate striker Julián Álvarez has emerged a target for Barcelona, who are seeking a cut-price forward to bolster Xavi's attacking options.

Update:
Barcelona: Xavi keen on move for River Plate striker Julian Alvarez

Atlético, Inter, Milan, Juventus, Fiorentina, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Madrid... at one time or another any and all of these clubs have been linked with Julián Álvarez, the star of Marcelo Gallardo’s swashbuckling River Plate side despite being only 21 years old. Reports in Italy state that Inter recently sent representatives to Buenos Aires to try and hammer out a deal similar to the one that brought Lautaro Martínez to Europe, but the Serie A side now face competition from Barcelona, who have also taken a keen interest in the Argentina international.

According to Sport Italia journalist Gianluigi Longari, as well as transfer market specialist Pedro Almeida, Barcelona have identified Álvarez as the answer to their search for an affordable forward to bolster Xavi’s goal-shy attack. Lack of goals has been Barça’s Achilles heel this season and with Memphis Depay now facing a month on the sidelines the issue has become even more urgent. Álvarez has become one of the hottest properties in Argentinean football and has enjoyed a sensational season to date, scoring 21 times in 44 appearances with 17 goals and nine assists in just 20 league games.

Álvarez’s release clause

Given Barcelona’s financial constraints, the Liga giants are looking beyond the top end of the market for bargains elsewhere and Álvarez fits the bill with a release clause of just €25 million, which will lead to a number of suitors testing the water. Barcelona have already sounded out the player’s representatives and are now stepping up negotiations to try and seal a deal before a bidding war ensues. The Camp Nou board had set their sights on Salzburg sensation Karim Adeyemi, but according to reports in Germany the 19-year-old forward has reached a verbal agreement to join Borussia Dortmund. As such, “the spider” has moved to the top of Barça’s web of transfer dealings with Xavi particularly impressed by his movement, link-up play and ability to slot into several attacking positions.

Real Madrid trial

Julián Álvarez during his Real Madrid trial.
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Julián Álvarez during his Real Madrid trial.Diario AS

Although Álvarez has a goal celebration that nods towards the superhero, his nickname was bestowed upon him by his older brother, TyC reported. When he was at the academy at local side Club Atlético Calchín, Álvarez’s ability on the ball and dribbling skills led his sibling to observe that he played “as though as he has more than two legs.”

When he was 11 years old, Álvarez had a trial at Real Madrid but the move did not materialize due to bureaucratic issues. However, he did turn several heads during his trial period. “He was in Madrid for a month. He was so impressive that people came from everywhere to see him play. He was in a class of his own. He would take defenders on on the left and the right and go all the way to the area,” the mayor of Calchín at the time told Infobae.

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