Aston Villa never stepped up their interest in River Plate’s £22 million Argentina international Julian Alvarez with the Premier League side eventually looking elsewhere, as reported by TN.
Perhaps Villa felt, for a cool £30 million, Leon Bailey simply represented better value for money than a man who has never set foot on European soil – at least, not in a footballing sense.
Bailey arrived at Villa Park after producing 15 goals and 11 assists during his final season for German giants Bayer Leverkusen.
Although the Jamaica international has spent most of his time on the bench since crossing the Channel, there has been the odd glimpse of talent to suggest that Bailey can help fill a gaping, Jack Grealish-shaped void in Dean Smith’s front line.
Alvarez, meanwhile, is still plying his trade on the other side of the Atlantic. Much to the delight of everyone connected with River Plate.
Will Julian Alvarez eventually end up in the Premier League?
The Athletic reported in June that Villa had made contact with Alvarez; a sprightly, spring-heeled number ten who has been compared to Villa’s European Cup winning legend Gary Shaw by South American expert Tim Vickery.
There were even claims that Aston Villa were set to test the water with an opening bid in the region of £15 million. But it seems that an offer never arrived.
According to TN, neither Aston Villa nor Ajax – who would eventually bring in former Copenhagen wonderkid Mohamed Daramy instead – firmed up their interest in a player who celebrated Copa America glory alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Emi Martinez and Emiliano Buendia over the summer.
It is believed that River Plate are now hoping to retain Alvarez until the 2022 World Cup, hoping that a stellar performance on the biggest of stages will raise his price-tag further.
“Julian is a player who caught our attention since he was a kid and we saw enormous potential in him,” said the much-admired River coach Marcelo Gallardo.
“He is an elite player and that is why he is in the Argentine National Team.”