Transfer Talk: 'Next Messi' Echeverri could be future City star
Claudio Echeverri is a potential star in the making.
The River Plate youngster, 17, has emerged as one of Argentina's brightest talents, earning comparisons to iconic compatriot Lionel Messi.
That has inevitably resulted in interest from a number of top European clubs, including Manchester City.
Ahead of today's clash with Luton, we take a look at whether the Premier League champions can win the race for Echeverri's signature — and what he might bring to Pep Guardiola's team.
City will face stiff competition in the battle to sign Echeverri.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus have also been linked with a move for the teenager.
His performances for Argentina at the recent Under-17 World Cup were particularly impressive, with five goals and an assist to his name — including a hat-trick against Brazil.
Echeverri is an excellent finisher and a remarkably proficient dribbler, able to carry the ball at speed with impressive close control.
The Messi comparisons are unsurprising given his obvious qualities, although he is very much a raw talent.
Echeverri said: "As well as River, I would like to play for Barcelona.
"I'm a big fan of Messi and I used to watch him play for Barcelona, so I've had this team inside me since I was very young."
Finding the cash required to sign Echeverri is unlikely to be a problem for City.
The teenager reportedly has a release clause worth £21.44million in his contract, although the sum increases to £25.73m within the final 10 days of any transfer window.
City also have the benefit of a relationship with River Plate, having signed Julian Alvarez from the Buenos Aires club in January 2022.
And they will hope that gives them the edge in what is likely to be a hard-fought transfer saga, given the level Echeverri could be capable of reaching.
River Plate youth scout Luis Pereira said: "El Diablito [Echeverri] has no ceiling, because he is old enough not to have one.
"He can play in six months in the first season and with a good pre-season, surrounded by players who understand that he is a kid and that the sport and soccer world is going to give him a lot of help."
Echeverri is undoubtedly one of the most exciting young players in world football right now.
Though it is likely to be a few years before he truly emerges on the global stage, clubs are already lining up to make offers.
There are no guarantees that Echeverri will fulfil his potential — as is the case with every promising youngster — but City will surely feel the risk is worth the cost.
As the Citizens prepare to face Luton, they will have one eye on a player who could become one of the Premier League's future stars.