Why Crystal Palace should reignite their interest in Roberto Alvarado

Earlier in the year in January, a report from Football Insider (h/t Leicestershire Live) had mentioned Crystal Palace among the potential suitors for Mexican winger Roberto Alvarado.

Premier League rivals Leicester City as well as Atalanta, Lyon, Ajax and PSV Eindhoven were all understood to have registered an interest in the attacker. However, those rumours eventually came to nothing and Alvarado ended up staying put at Cruz Azul in his homeland. 

The 22-year-old started his professional career and impressed at Celaya in the Mexican second-tier before moving to the top-flight with Pachuca in 2017. Having won the CONCACAF Champions League in 2016-17, Alvarado was roped in by Necaxa for the 2017 Apertura. The attacking midfielder eventually joined Cruz Azul in 2018 and has since established himself as a key player for the Mexican heavyweights. 

Alvarado, who is widely regarded as one of the best rising talents in Mexico, has also represented his nation at the senior international level. The 18-cap starlet made his debut in 2018 and helped El Tri to the CONCACAF Gold Cup crown last year, starring in the tournament alongside Wolves striker Raul Jimenez. 

Roberto Alvarado
Alvarado has made over 100 appearances for Cruz Azul in his homeland (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have had a decent start to the campaign with 18 points accumulated from 14 games so far. The Eagles have registered 5 wins and 3 draws, leaving them 13th in the standings. A negative goal difference resulting from 19 goals scored and 25 conceded should be enough to give Roy Hodgson some food for thought heading into the winter market.

Palace roped in Eberechi Eze from QPR in the summer to bolster creativity while Michy Batshuayi also joined the ranks at Selhurst Park on a second loan deal from Chelsea. Unlike Batshuayi, who has been largely disappointing, Eze has adjusted very well to life in the top-flight.

The Eagles, however, have continued to rely heavily on Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend to spark creativity from the flanks. Having said that, Palace can certainly do with another out-and-out attacking midfielder to compete with Eze, with Max Meyer very much a peripheral figure these days. 

Putting things into perspective, Crystal Palace should make a renewed attempt to sign Roberto Alvarado in January or next summer. The Mexican starlet has progressed by leaps and bounds over the course of his stay at Cruz Azul in his homeland, accumulating a promising tally of 12 goals and 19 assists in 101 appearances for the club.

fbl mex cruz azul pumas
Roberto Alvarado (L) of Cruz Azul jumps over the goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez (R), after scoring against Pumas during their Mexican Apertura tournament semifinal football match at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Mexico, on December 3, 2020. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images)

Alvarado is primarily deployed in a No.10 role, where he plays between the lines to supplement the centre-forward. He is equally adept at operating on either flank, meaning his versatility would be a real asset to Crystal Palace besides his obvious ability to break the opposition down. 

Verdict

That Roberto Alvarado has already earned 18 senior caps for his nation at the tender age of 22 clearly underlines how highly he is rated in Mexico. The playmaker still has plenty of time to grow and develop, so he would be a wonderful acquisition for Crystal Palace with one eye on the future.

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The Eagles have some quality young talents like Eze, Nathan Ferguson and Tyrick Mitchell in their ranks and a potential deal for the Mexican would represent another step in the right direction.

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