Transfer Talk: Alvarez could Ed to Chelsea in January
Edson Alvarez is a man in demand — and the race to sign him is hotting up.
Chelsea made an approach to sign the midfield anchor late in the summer transfer window — but had their offer rejected by Ajax.
Now the Mexico international is reportedly drawing interest from Manchester United that could set up an all-out bidding war.
Ahead of Chelsea's clash with Arsenal this afternoon, we take a look at where Alvarez may end up and what qualities he would bring to his prospective employers.
Ajax stand firm
Last summer, Ajax saw a mass exodus of players — including the notable sales of Ryan Gravenberch, Lisandro Martinez and Antony.
Towards the end of the transfer window, Chelsea made an offer for Alvarez's services rumoured to be worth £43.5million.
The 25-year-old was desperate for the move to materialise and looked to force his way to Stamford Bridge by refusing to show up for training.
However, the Dutch side were adamant in their desire to keep Alvarez and the two-time Eredivisie winner remained at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Alvarez wants away
Recently, Alvarez spoke out about the collapsed transfer, revealing his disappointment at not getting his big move.
He said: "We never expected Chelsea to put in another bid at the end of August. It was a difficult situation. Ajax couldn't do anything.
"On the other hand, it motivates me enormously that clubs of that size keep an eye on my matches, my actions.
"I am very disappointed but I am convinced that sooner or later a big club will come for me."
Alvarez’s comments suggest that Ajax's No4 remains open to a move away from the Netherlands — and could even be available in January.
Eyes on Alvarez
It is not hard to see why Alvarez has so many suitors — the Mexico City native ticks a number of important boxes for the modern-day No6.
His tall stature, coupled with his defensive awareness, has seen him average a commendable 2.75 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 2.75 aerial duels won per 90 minutes in the Eredivisie this season.
Alvarez is equally impressive in possession as he constantly scans the field of play, always makes himself an option to receive a pass and shows great composure on the ball.
His 66 completed passes and 7.5 passes into the attacking third per 90 in the Dutch top flight this term are evidence of his remarkable distribution.
Chelsea's search continues
The arrival of new manager Graham Potter could see Chelsea move in a different direction — but their need for a new central midfielder is evident.
N'Golo Kante is out with injury for at least four months and loanee Denis Zakaria has made just one appearance for the club.
That leaves Jorginho as the only other deep-lying central midfielder — and the Italian's contract is set to expire at the end of the season.
The addition of Alvarez would bring some much-needed defensive steel and physicality to Chelsea's midfield without compromising the technical security that allows their forwards to flourish.
Re-United with Ten Hag?
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has already raided his former club Ajax — and Alvarez could be next on the list.
However, unlike Chelsea, the Red Devils have recently invested heavily in a defensive midfielder — Casemiro.
Alvarez would still be a smart acquisition for United, though, as he could slot straight into Ten Hag's starting line-up either as a lone six or alongside the former Real Madrid player.
Given the rarity of high-quality deep-lying midfielders with a skill set as complete as Alvarez’s, whichever club can prise him from Ajax’s clutches will be acquiring an extremely valuable addition to the squad.