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Manchester United report: Red Devils lead Real Madrid in race for Argentine wonderkid

Julian Alvarez
(Image credit: PA)

Manchester United are at the front of the queue to sign River Plate forward Julian Alvarez in the January transfer window, according to reports.

Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter are also tracking the 21-year-old, but Sport writes that United are in pole position to win the race for his signature.

Alvarez has earned rave reviews for his performances in South America since he made his senior debut in 2018.

He was superb in the 2021 season in Argentina, scoring 22 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions.

Having already lifted the Copa Libertadores at the start of his career, Alvarez’s goals fired River Plate to glory in the Argentine top flight last term.

Able to operate centrally or out wide, the five-time Argentina international is on the shopping lists of several major sides on the other side of the Atlantic.

The Argentine season finished in the middle of December, so a sale this month is possible before the next campaign gets under way.

The aforementioned report states that United are preparing an offer for the youngster and could trigger the release clause in his contract.

River would be forced to accept an offer of £16.8m for the 21-year-old, whose agent Fernando Hidalgo is preparing to travel to England for talks.

United were reportedly alerted to Alvarez by scouts based in Argentina, and they are now looking to formalise their interest with a bid.

Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani face uncertain futures at Old Trafford, with neither likely to be at the club next season.

The addition of Alvarez would help to freshen up United’s attack as they compete for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Alternatively, United might consider loaning the forward out for the remainder of the campaign if they are able to get a deal over the line this month.

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Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).