Velez Sarsfield want to keep Arsenal target Ricky Alvarez but would deal at around £12m

Reports last week that the attacker had signed for the Gunners are wide of the mark and a source at the Argentine club confirmed to that they want to fend off bids
By Ariel Blanco and Daniel Edwards

Velez Sarsfield want to keep starlet Ricky Alvarez at the club through the summer but admit that an offer of around £12 million could tempt them into selling their prized asset.

The club's hierarchy met on Tuesday night in order to discuss the player's future amid rumours that Arsenal were seeking a deal for the imposing attacker.

Speculation was rife last week that the 23-year-old had signed a pre-contract agreement with Arsene Wenger's side but those reports remain unsubstantiated.

Alvarez has three years left on his current deal at Velez and only a massive offer would see him move to Europe.

"Velez have no current intention to sell Alvarez," a source close to Velez told after the board meeting.

"We have a philosophy at this club of not selling players at a young age and letting them reach their potential.

"Velez would require an offer similar to what we received from Al-Sadd for Mauro Zarate." 

The Qatar Stars League side paid £12m for the Lazio striker in 2007 and Velez were also able to hold on to 20 per cent of Zarate's contract rights as part of the deal.

An Arsenal representative is understood to have travelled to Buenos Aires on Tuesday and could watch Alvarez in action for Velez in nearby Montevideo during Thursday's Copa Libertadores tie with Penarol.

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