Ralf Rangnick will step up his hunt for River Plate striker Julian Álvarez this winter, despite reports to the contrary.
At the turn of the year, it was reported that United had not met with representatives of the River Plate striker, one of the hottest properties in South American football. As well as United, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan are all believed to be interested in Álvarez, who has a €20m (£16.6m) buyout clause in his contract, according to Sport Witness. It seemed as though a move was out of the reach of United as his agent flew to Italy.
Reports from South America suggest that the hunt is back on, despite Juventus and AC Milan now also eyeing the striker. The 21-year-old scored 18 goals for his club side last season, and whilst his agent has been in Italy for talks, it’s felt either Germany or England would best serve his needs. That could leave United in a showdown with Bayern Munich for his services.
A move to Munich is a guarantee of trophies; they’ve won the Bundesliga for the last nine years in a row, and they’re currently six points clear of Dortmund this season. They’re also a success in Europe, with two Champions League wins in the last decade and four semi-final appearances. Contrast that with United, who were seventh in the Premier League going into FA Cup Third Round weekend, and who last won the Premier League in 2013. United might still be in the Champions League, but they’re not ranked amongst the favourites by Coral to win their domestic league. But despite a winnable last 16 tie in the Champions League, they won’t be expected to make the final for the first time since 2011. That could swing the young striker’s decision towards Bayern Munich.
Alvarez has been capped five times by his country and was part of the squad that lifted the Copa America this summer. He’s already used to winning trophies, with a Copa Libertadores with River Plate in 2018, as well as a Primera Division title in 2021. In 95 appearances for his club, he’s already bagged 34 goals, and for around £17m would represent a strong purchase for United.
Is he what the team needs right now, though? Rangnick is also linked with a move for Boubacar Kamara, a 22-year-old defensive midfielder who may well better fill the team’s needs. Kamara is currently playing for Marseille in Ligue 1 and has also been targeted by West Ham United and Newcastle. The stumbling block for some is his wage demands of £150,000 per week, but it would be money well spent for United, who have lacked in this area for some time. Kamara has represented France up to Under 21 international, and likenesses between him and N’Golo Kante are noticeable.
With 126 outings for Marseille and a Europa League runner’s up medal, Kamara would certainly seem an easier fit at United, and one the club needs more than another striker. However, capturing both him and Álvarez would certainly give the new manager a big boost heading into a tough period at the start of 2022.