Roberto Alvarado: Who is Manchester United’s latest rumoured target?
Anyone who has seen just one iota of Manchester United this season knows the team need to improve on two areas urgently: a centre-back and a right-winger. As it generally happens with big European teams, a plethora of names have been linked with an Old Trafford move; despite the fact that the transfer window won’t open until January next year. The latest in a long line to be rumoured? A young midfielder named Roberto Alvarado.
If you have not heard about him, don’t worry. It would be completely normal if you don’t know him unless you a) are an avid Liga MX follower or b) support Cruz Azul, which is the team Alvarado has been defending during the start of the Apertura in the 2018-19 Mexican season. This exciting prospect came out of nowhere as a potential target for Manchester United roughly two weeks ago when local media linked with an interest from The Red Devils, but no one has denied it yet. We could be on to something here. After all, United already had a decent experience when they acquired Javier Hernandez. Could Alvarado follow his steps?
First, let's know a bit more about this Alvarado lad, whom everyone has been talking about of late? He is certainly not a household name in Mexican football and only has one cap with El Tri, in a game he played against Uruguay this past Friday. But there is far more of his game aside from his youth and his untapped – as rumoured – potential.
First, we must say that Alvarado can play all over the attacking third, although he is better suited to operate either as a right winger, or as an attacking midfielder. He has been playing on the right side of Cruz Azul’s attacking line of late, and the results have been impressive. The 20-year-old forward has become one of the team’s top players, and local fans already see him as the next big thing to come out of Mexico since Hirving Lozano… and if I recall correctly, Manchester United were also linked with an interest on Lozano before he eventually signed for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Numbers-wise, Alvarado does not look like a dominant player – he only has two goals and three assists in eight Liga MX matches this season. However, we must put things into context. He is only 20 years old and playing in probably the third toughest league in Latin America. Liga MX is a top competition in the CONMEBOL – CONCACAF region, perhaps bested only by the Brazilian Serie A and the Argentina Primera Division. Therefore, him showing these displays at such a young age should be quite promising.
One thing that could stall talks is the fact that Alvarado is just not ready to play for Manchester United yet. He could be an excellent product with time, but right now, he would be better suited to play in a less competitive environment, similar to what Lozano has been doing in the Eredivisie. That shouldn’t stop United from trying to acquire him, though. Young talents like Alvarado do not grow on trees and with the inflated transfer fees we have seen of late, United might as well move before he comes too pricey.
Alvarado does not look like a world-class player, but he is certainly a capable winger, and a versatile youngster filled with potential. United would be smart to make a move on him because the benefits could easily outweigh the risk.