Manchester City are considering a move for River Plate forward Julian Alvarez, GOAL can confirm.
The 21-year-old Argentina international is understood to have a release clause in his contract set at around £17million ($23m).
City have been without a striker all season after missing out on Tottenham's Harry Kane in the summer, but he is unlikely to go straight into Pep Guardiola's side this season with the coach keen on signing a front-line forward in the summer.
River are keen to keep him for the next six months and he could then be loaned out to a sister club within the City Football Group.
Who is Julian Alvarez?
A former Real Madrid youth player, Alvarez scored 18 goals in 21 appearances in the Argentinian top-flight last season.
He is one of Argentina’s most promising young players, making five appearances for the national team in World Cup qualifiers and Copa America.
He was with the Madrid academy for two years, but was unable sign for them as he was under 13.
Madrid have been linked with a return for the forward and he has been as a potential target for a host of European giants including Manchester United and Barcelona.
After returning to Argentina with River Plate, he made his professional debut in 2018 and has 36 goals in 96 appearances.
Relatively small and with a low centre of gravity, Alvarez has drawn comparisons with fellow Argentinian and City's record goalscorer Sergio Aguero but he also has the ability to play anywhere across the front three.
What's been said?
“Playing in Europe is most people's dream because of those leagues' quality and what it means to be at those clubs,” Alvarez told Radio La Red in 2020.
“I am taking it easy. Obviously I talk to my agent and my family, but I know I have to stay focused on what I'm doing. Later the time will come, through the work I am doing. On the Playstation, I play with Barcelona or Manchester City.”
Meanwhile, River Plate president Jorge Brito has all but confirmed that Alvarez will leave the club this year, albeit without naming City directly.
"If you look at everything that Julian has done, it was always likely that someone would pay his release clause," Brito has told ESPN.
"The most difficult thing was to keep him on loan, as he is almost irreplaceable for Marcelo [Gallardo] and the squad.
"Contractually, even though the loan is until July 7, there is a clause that as long as River continues in the Copa Libertadores, he will stay with us."