BBC: Expert offers opinion on Aston Villa target Julian Alvarez

Amid speculation linking Aston Villa with a move for River Plate’s Julian Alvarez, South American football expert Tim Vickery has described him as ‘sheer class’.

Reports in Argentina have paired Villa with an interest in the talented Argentine forward, but it remains to be seen whether or not that results in the club making a formal offer to River Plate to prise him away.

READ MORE: Who is Julian Alvarez? Analysis of touted Aston Villa transfer target

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Alvarez, 21, has bagged 16 goals and 17 assists in 69 appearances for his club, while he broke into the senior Argentina squad this year and made his debut earlier this month.

In turn, that alone would suggest that he has a bright future ahead of him, but naturally for Villa fans, it’s interesting to gain a better insight into the player should a move to the club materialise this summer.

Speaking to BBC Sounds, Vickery has offered his opinion on the youngster, highlighting both positive and negative aspects of a potential move from Villa for the talented and versatile forward.

“I’m a huge fan of Julian Alvarez, and I’ve written quite a lot about him already, I think he’s sheer class,” he told BBC5Live. “The one problem is: where do you fit him in? He’s not really an out-and-out centre-forward, he’s not really a winger, he’s someone who likes to move across the attacking line, so it’s not easy to fit him into every system. I’ve even seen him used as an attacking midfielder.

“If you’re thinking like an old 4-4-2, he would be the second striker with the capacity to move either side of the main number nine.

“Perhaps for Villa fans, maybe one comparison I would make is with Gary Shaw – and I think Gary Shaw was a great player who was deprived of unbelievable greatness by injuries.

“I think Alvarez has something of that in him; he’s very classy, and he’s really bright.

“River Plate have brought him along very slowly, he hasn’t always got into the starting line-up, but they’ve played him for big games. He’s in the Argentina squad now and they’ve got huge hopes for him. I think he’s class, but exactly how he is going to fit in is the big question mark for any coach who acquires him. ”

Time will tell if that’s a problem that Dean Smith has on his hands next season, but having already added Emiliano Buendia to the squad this summer, it remains to be seen if the Argentine contingent at Villa continues to grow in the coming weeks.

Buendia will line up alongside Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins to form what looks like a very dangerous attacking line, but there is still a spot up for grabs with the likes of Anwar El Ghazi and Bertrand Traore undoubtedly desperate to claim it and make it their own.

That’s where Alvarez could come in, with his versatility giving Smith the option to play him in different roles perhaps as a depth player initially as he adjusts to life in England. That said, it’s still early for those discussions, as we wait to see if Villa decide to make a bid and step up their pursuit of Alvarez ahead of the new season.