Man City beat Chelsea and Barcelona to 'new Messi' signing

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • Updated: 25 Jan 2024 16:39 GMT
  • 3 min read
Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola
© ProShots

Manchester City have signed Claudio Echeverri from River Plate, but the playmaker will remain on loan at the Buenos Aires giants until January 2025.

The 18-year-old won the Bronze Ball as third-top scorer at the recent FIFA Under-17 World Cup where his nation, Argentina, claimed fourth place.

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He has only made six senior appearances for River since being given his debut by manager and former City defender Martin Demichelis last summer. However, City have seen fit to part with what has been reported as an initial £12 million for the midfielder.

His City contract will run until 2028.

Pep Guardiola’s side have beaten a clutch of European suitors to the signing of the player nicknamed “the Little Devil” with Chelsea, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Inter Milan all credited with an interest in the teenager. However, it was City who won the battle for a young star dubbed “the next Lionel Messi."

Echeverri wanted European move

It was reported in late December that Echeverri had rejected River’s offer of a new contract, which could have seen his buyout clause swell to around £44m, in favour of negotiating terms with the English champions.

River fans were left frustrated to be losing such a highly regarded young talent for a scant fee, even more so considering they had barely seen him in action for the first team. They will, however, have the pleasure of seeing him perform over the next year.

Echeverri is the second highly-rated prospect moving from the Monumental to the Etihad following the signing of Julian Alvarez in January 2022, with the player joining the Manchester giants the following summer.

Alvarez has since gone on to win every major honour in world football, including the World Cup alongside Messi as well as the treble with City last season.

City’s good conduct throughout the Alvarez deal as well as their links with Demichelis are thought to have played a considerable part in smoothing the passage of Echeverri to Manchester.

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