Why Roberto Alvarado would be an excellent signing for Crystal Palace
According to claims from Football Insider (h/t Leicestershire Live), Crystal Palace are among a host of European clubs to have been credited with an interest in Mexican starlet Roberto Alvarado, who currently plies his trade with heavyweights Cruz Azul in his homeland.
Premier League rivals Leicester City, as well as the likes of Atalanta, Lyon, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax, have all registered an interest in the 21-year-old, who is widely regarded as one of the brightest young talents in Mexico. (Football Insider h/t Leicestershire Live)
Alvarado started his footballing education and impressed at Mexican second-tier side Celaya before earning a move to the top-flight with Pachuca in 2017.
The highly-rated playmaker went on to enjoy a brief stint at fellow top-flight outfit Necaxa before joining Cruz Azul in 2018 and has progressed by leaps and bounds ever since.
The 21-year-old, who could be available for a fee of around £11million this month, has scored twice and assisted once in 18 appearances so far this season, and his impressive development has attracted interest from across the Atlantic.
Alvarado previously lacked substantial end product at Pachuca and Necaxa but he has really come of age since his switch to Cruz Azul, racking up an impressive tally of 9 goals and 11 assists in 74 appearances across all competitions.
Essentially a central attacking midfielder who likes to occupy that hole behind the striker, the left-footed ace is also versatile enough to play in a deeper role in the middle of the park while possessing the skill-set to slot into wide attacking roles on either side of the pitch.
The youngster already boasts of an eye-catching CV for a player of his age, having racked up 18 senior international caps for Mexico and represented his nation at the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and the nascent CONCACAF Nations League.
Currently, Palace find themselves in the top half of the standings, with defensive stability pretty much the hallmark of their impressive first half of the campaign under Roy Hodgson.
To that end, a new centre-forward to replace the underperforming duo of Christian Benteke and Connor Wickham should be a top priority for Palace, while a new creative midfielder also fits the bill, with the likes of Andros Townsend and Max Meyer failing to provide any inspiration due to injuries and inconsistencies.
Wilfried Zaha hasn’t been at his best this season but it would be unfair to single him out for Palace’s poor scoring record. Suffice to say, it has been a collective failure so far for the Eagles in the final third and they will surely need to sort out issues relating to lack of creativity sooner rather than later.
To put things into perspective, Crystal Palace are crying out for some much-needed creative reinforcements to bolster their attack in January and Roberto Alvarado looks like a fine young player in the right age bracket to come through the door at Selhurst Park as an exciting addition to the squad.
With Hodgson often preferring a 4-5-1 formation with an overloaded midfield, Alvarado’s versatility to play in the central and wide areas of the pitch could come in handy, whilst his creativity and finesse would certainly be a big asset to a team that has looked bereft of ideas more often than not.
Taking into account the obvious climatic and cultural differences between North America and Europe, as well as the intense atmosphere in the Premier League, Alvarado would need time to get to grips with the tempo of the English game.
However, his talent and potential have been there for everybody to see and the Eagles will be hoping that he can possibly pass the test with flying colours.
The Mexican still has a lot of room for development at 21, which is another reason why he would be well worth a significant outlay for Palace in the market.
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All in all, it is now high time for the Crystal Palace to aim for better heights in the Premier League and winning the race for Roberto Alvarado would definitely be a massive statement of intent.