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Julian Alvarez’s Test of Patience

Amidst the rapid change of coaches in several big clubs in mainland Europe, the player transfer market has also started to stir. The excitement may not be too apparent considering the busy schedule of tournaments between countries that will happen before our eyes.

In the European continent, the European Cup competition in Germany will soon begin (June 14 – July 14, 2024). And, in the American continent with the Copa America on June 21-July 15, 2024. The two competitions could be an instrument for European clubs to glance at players and a gap to woo targeted players.

The ripples of player transfers, of course, continue to appear in front of the European Cup and Copa America schedules. Several names that are not so considered have even entered the transfer issue this season. One of them is the Argentine player who wears the Manchester City club uniform, Julian Alvarez.

Julian Alvarez is considered a fairly unique player. Recruited from River Plate two seasons ago, Alvarez, who plays as a striker, is considered a backup for Erling Haaland. It was the same when Alvarez entered the 2022 World Cup squad in Qatar. Alvarez became a substitute for Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez.

Martinez’s performance stagnated in the tournament. Alvarez became a substitute and was even able to make a difference for the Argentine National Team when played by Lionel Scaloni.

As a result, throughout the tournament, Martinez became the second choice, and Alvarez became the first choice in Argentina’s front line. Without hesitation, Alvarez scored 4 goals during the World Cup.

The situation was exactly the same during his two seasons playing for The Citizens, Argentina’s nickname. Alvarez often performed brilliantly when trusted to play either from the start or as a substitute.

Interestingly, Alvarez was also able to adapt to the system implemented by Coach Pep Guardiola. For example, Alvarez was trusted to fill the role of Kevin de Bruyne who suffered an injury at the start of the 2023/24 season.

De Bruyne often plays behind the striker. That role was played well by Alvarez. Even his contribution record in creating assists increased drastically where Alvarez was able to make 12 assists.

Generally, Alvarez made the assists when filling the role of Kevin de Bruyne. Different from his first season at Man City where Alvarez did not record a single assist. However, Alvarez still does not seem to be Guardiola’s first choice. Still the second choice.

When Haaland and De Bruyne are fit, Guardiola plays Alvarez as a substitute. Alvarez tends to be a substitute when Man City needs a “differentiating factor” in the midst of a difficult situation to break the deadlock.

The problem is, Alvarez is still at a productive age, 25 years old. His popularity has risen in the European context. Of course, Alvarez is reportedly in demand by several big clubs in Europe. Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and Atletico Madrid are recorded as trying to explore the possibility of getting the signature of the Argentine player.

However, Man City denied any issues related to Alvarez. However, Alvarez is an important player because he is able to adapt well to the system desired by Guardiola. However, in the midst of his productive age and undoubted quality, offers from other clubs are quite tempting. Moreover, the offer is accompanied by a promise to be the main choice in the team and get more playing time.

Alvarez’s departure could be a big loss. Considering his role and patience during his two seasons wearing the Man City uniform, Alvarez is an important player and difficult to replace.

Added to that is Alvarez’s willingness to play in a position that is not his original position. He is able to adapt to the new system, and the change does not change the player’s professionalism.

The issue about Alvarez could be a bad sign for Man City. It could also be a test of patience from Alvarez who perhaps does not want to continue to be the second choice in Pep Guardiola’s game scheme at Man City.

ASL

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