Manchester City are securing the services of a player described as being a ‘mix’ of Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, according to the one man that discovered his talents.
That player is 18-year-old Claudio Echeverri, whom the Premier League champions confirmed as their latest recruit from the South American game towards the end of the most recent January transfer window.
It is widely understood that the teenage wonderkid has penned a deal with Manchester City until the summer of 2028, in a deal worth an initial £12.5 million with room for further add-ons.
Manchester City fans will however have to wait at least another 10 months before seeing Echeverri in any form of action for the club, after it was also confirmed that the River Plate man will remain on loan at his club until the end of 2024.
But who exactly are Manchester City signing, and why is there so much excitement around the player in Argentina and across South America, given his youth and lack of senior experience in the game?
Daniel Brizuela – a former director within River Plate’s scouting department – has been speaking to Pagina 12 on the latest name to join Manchester City’s project from South America, offering a staggering insight into the player he believes the Etihad club are signing.
As translated and relayed by Sport Witness, Brizuela explains on Claudio Echeverri, “He is a footballer who has a mix between (Diego) Maradona and (Lionel) Messi. Because he has the personality that Diego had, the strong character to grab the ball and go forward.
“And the other part is football, in that he is very similar to Lionel, with his dribbling that starts on the flank, moving towards the middle and finishing the play with a goal.”
There has been some concern from the part of River Plate supporters over a possible premature departure for Echeverri, as well as disappointment that the club will be losing such a talented player without seeing too much of his progression at their side.
However, Echeverri’s move to Manchester City at the end of 2024 is a switch that Daniel Brizuela is all too supportive of, as he explained, “I understand it a little, because the fan is the heart of the club, but they never know the whole story.”
He continued, “They hear a part of it or see something on the pitch that triggers their emotions. But beyond all that, we have a history as a person, and the player’s career is short and nobody knows if anything will happen to him in the future.
“So, if he has the opportunity to go abroad and help his family financially, he should take advantage of it. There is only one life and you have to take advantage of opportunities.”
While Echeverri is expected to officially depart River Plate at the end of the ongoing calendar year, there is an understanding in Spain that City Group side Girona could be in pole position to sign the talent on loan, should Manchester City feel he requires extra development in Europe upon his arrival.
City and Girona have a strong link when it comes to the transfer of players, with the latest name to be involved in a switch being Brazilian talent Savio, who is expected to become a Manchester City player this summer following his loan to La Liga from ESTAC Troyes.
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