Scouting Report: Alan Varela

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Another No.6 Linked?

We haven’t had a number six rumour for a while so this was a pleasant one. The rumour mill is in full swing, and one name that’s been fervently scribbled in the columns of potential Anfield arrivals is Alan Varela since last summer. The young Argentine, previously with Boca and now currently with FC Porto, has been turning heads with his composed performances in the heart of midfield, and the stats, as well as the buzz, suggest it’s possible he could be the next piece in Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool puzzle. Possible, but with the competition and the price, hard to say likely.

What’s Been Said?

Reports emerging from South America and particularly from the media outlet ‘Bolavip’, indicate that both Manchester City and Liverpool are in close pursuit of Varela. The narrative is not unfamiliar; the Premier League’s elite locking horns for a talent tipped to flourish on the grandest stages. As Bolavip notes, “Varela is being followed by several clubs, but specifically, it is the giants of the Premier League who have already approached Porto to learn about his pretensions.” If it comes to a bidding war between us and City, there’s only one way that’ll go. We won’t be the only ones if it’s true.

The Key Stats

Alan Varela’s numbers for the season are promising. The 22-year-old has made 22 appearances across all competitions for Porto, showcasing his talent on the grand stage of the Champions League. His primary role as a defensive midfielder is backed by an impressive pass completion rate of 86.5% and a solid defensive action sheet from the current season’s statistics. With two international appearances already under his belt for Argentina U20, Varela’s trajectory looks set to soar. Liverpool looked at him in the summer and try may have left it late t go back in.

Compare Him To

How does Varela stack up against Liverpool’s current midfield enforcer? Comparing his stats with fellow countryman and Liverpool’s own Alexis Mac Allister, Varela’s total pass completion of 86.5% is slightly less than Mac Allister’s 88.0%, and his defensive tackles success similar (35.3% compared to 47.5%) Mac Allister also leads the way in terms of blocks, interceptions and pretty much every defensive metric. He’s a few years younger, but only one Argentinian is playing unexpectedly in the number six role. There’s still real potential there from a progressive element though.

Likelihood and Fee

Turning speculation into acquisition is never simple, especially when the player in question is valued at €14 million by Transfermarkt, with a hefty release clause rumoured to be in the region of €70 million. Varela’s contract with Porto running until 2028 means that the club is in a strong negotiating position having just acquired him last summer. To prise him away, it is understood that clubs may have to meet his release clause, setting the stage for a significant investment. Furthermore, with the player’s wage package to consider, the deal’s structure becomes a critical talking point for the finance teams. It’s possible, but with the fee and overall finances involved it’s hard to see this one.

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