There is big excitement surrounding the arrival of Argentine midfielder Carlos Alcaraz at Southampton, with the 20-year-old drawing comparisons to a Premier League icon.
Alcaraz came through the ranks at Racing Club and made his first-team debut in January 2020. He has gone on to play 83 games for the Argentinian outfit, scoring 12 times from midfield.
Alcaraz’s top performances for Racing resulted in him being linked with Arsenal in May 2022. According to the Daily Express, the Gunners were battling London rivals Tottenham for him at that point.
Arsenal and Spurs ultimately pursued different targets during the summer transfer window. However, Alcaraz could prove the two north London sides wrong as he is on the verge of joining another Prem club.
The 20-year-old has reportedly undertaken a medical at Southampton on Tuesday ahead of a permanent switch to St Mary’s.
Southampton have agreed to pay Racing £12.3million for the player, after having an initial £8.8m bid rejected. Alcaraz had a £22m release clause in his contract, so Southampton have done well to avoid paying this.
He is set to pen a long-term deal with Nathan Jones’ side which will run until summer 2027.
Racing have announced Alcaraz’s move to the south coast, revealing there is a 15 per cent sell-on clause if Southampton sell him in the future. However, Southampton themselves are yet to confirm the transfer has reached completion.
Observer sings praises of new Southampton man
Nevertheless, South American football expert Tim Vickery has been talking up Alcaraz ahead of him potentially shining in England. Vickery even went as far as comparing Alcaraz to Frank Lampard, who bagged 211 goals in 648 games for Chelsea and helped the Blues to win both the Prem title and Champions League.
“I like him [Alcaraz] a lot,” Vickery said during an appearance on talkSPORT. “He is a central midfielder, 20 years old, but despite that age he was one of the best things on show in Argentina last year.
“He’s very much in that kind of English school of midfielders, in that he’s a central midfielder who gets in the box and has got a goal in him. He’s like Frank Lampard, that kind of player.
“He times his runs very, very well. He sort of ghosts into the box well. He’s got promise.
“There may be a bit of a wild child in him, so you wonder how he’s going to adapt with a new language and a new culture. Fernando Gago has been his coach at Racing and I think he’s given Gago a little bit of work.
“You always wonder how that will go because you’re not just buying a footballer, but a human being.
Carlos Alcaraz traits analysed
“But I love that capacity that he’s got to get into the box, the timing of his runs is very interesting.”
Saints fans will be expecting big things from Alcaraz following such an eye-opening comparison. But as with most new signings, he must be given time to bed in. This is even more the case due to Alcaraz moving away from his native Argentina for the first time.
At the same time though, the signing must work hard to try and impress his new coaches. It sounds like he can be a bit of a rebel at times, but his behaviour must be spot on if he is to become a Southampton favourite.
Meanwhile, Southampton have made a club-record move for an attacker Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp love, according to reports.
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