Manchester City agree €25m deal to sign Claudio Echeverri from River Plate

Claudio Echeverri will return to River Plate on loan as part of the deal with Manchester City. Photograph: Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images
  • 17-year-old will stay in Argentina next season on loan
  • Deal structured in similar way to Julián Álvarez signing

Manchester City have agreed a deal to sign Argentina’s Under-17 World Cup star Claudio Echeverri from River Plate for €25m (£21.7m), beating Barcelona to his signature.

The 17-year-old midfielder, who scored a hat-trick over Brazil in the quarter-finals of the tournament in Indonesia last month, will remain with the Argentinian club for another year on loan as part of the deal after City held productive talks this week. Echeverri’s contract expires at the end of next year but he had refused to commit his future beyond then amid interest from the Premier League champions and Barcelona.

But having signed Julián Álvarez from River Plate in January 2022 in a similar deal that saw the forward remain in Argentina before moving to England the following summer, it is understood that City have convinced Echeverri and his club to come to an agreement. He is expected to sign a long-term contract and complete his move when the January transfer window opens next week in what is otherwise likely to be a quiet month for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Kalvin Phillips has indicated his preference to leave, with Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Juventus among those interested in signing the England midfielder on loan until the end of the season. Representatives for Phillips are believed to have held talks with City last week in an attempt to find him a new club and expect the treble winners to sanction a loan despite City’s preference to find a buyer if possible.

Known as El Diablito (little devil), Echeverri burst on to the scene at River Plate’s reserve side last year and made five league appearances for the first team last season. He was voted the third best player at the Under-17 World Cup after scoring five goals as Argentina finished in fourth place.