Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is expecting new signing Julian Alvarez to link up with the club in the summer.
The Premier League champions signed the Argentina striker for a reported £14million from River Plate before Monday’s transfer deadline but immediately loaned him back to the Buenos Aires club.
No firm date for the 22-year-old’s arrival at City has been determined, with the initial announcement of the deal merely confirming it would not be before July.
There have been suggestions Alvarez could remain at River for longer but Guardiola appears to be planning for him to be part of pre-season preparations.
Guardiola said: “He’s a player that could be with us but right now we have enough players in that position and I don’t like to have many players in several positions.
“The best is for him to stay at River Plate. He’s developed incredibly well in the last years with (coach) Marcelo Gallardo.
“He’s with his mates and in the next pre-season he will be with us. Then after we’ll decide what happens in pre-season.
“I personally – and we – are really pleased to have this talented young player for the next years.”
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Alvarez’s signing was followed this week by an announcement that full-back Joao Cancelo had agreed a new contract at the Etihad Stadium.
The Portugal international, who has excelled at left-back and right-back this season, is now committed to the club until 2027.
The 27-year-old has risen to prominence over the past year having initially struggled to make an impact following his £60m move from Juventus in 2019.
Guardiola admits he is partly to blame for Cancelo’s slow start but is now pleased to see the player thriving.
He said: “Everyone knows how important Joao is with us and what we have done in the last two seasons, especially this season.
“We struggled together in the first part when he arrived. We did not agree on many things but, in part, for my mistakes.
“Now he’s incredible and I’m so delighted he’s fully happy here and can play in this club for the next years. He is a versatile player who can play in many positions.
“He wanted to play every day and if he doesn’t play he doesn’t feel happy. Sometimes he has to understand the reason why, but now he is fully committed and understands.
“But some players have to be treated different from others and I needed time to understand him. Now I understand him more and he’s important for us.”
Guardiola was speaking at a press conference to preview Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie against Sky Bet Championship leaders Fulham.
“It will be an interesting game,” said Guardiola. “It is a good test for us after one week off. I think it is the best opponent we could face.
“I saw a few games in this period to see Fulham and I’m really impressed with the way they are playing.
“It’s not just the fact they score a lot of goals, it’s the way they are playing. I’m not surprised they’re top of the table in the Championship.”