Julian Alvarez of Manchester City celebrates scoring a goal (1-1) during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Man City and FK Crvena Zvezda at Etihad Stadium on September 19, 2023
Man City striker Julian Alvarez.

Julian Alvarez receives ‘massive’ Arsenal compliment after filling De Bruyne role

Julian Alvarez is reminiscent of legendary playmaker Dennis Bergkamp, according to former Arsenal defender Martin Keown.

The Manchester City forward has enjoyed a terrific start to the new campaign, having started all six Premier League games thus far. He’s chipped in with two goals and two assists domestically, while he also grabbed a brace in the Uefa Champions League against Red Star Belgrade in midweek.

The Argentine has become integral to Man City’s attack since Kevin De Bruyne picked up a serious injury in the opening day win over Burnley at Turf Moor, playing as a second striker to Erling Haaland.


The 23-year-old has evidently been given a creative brief by Pep Guardiola this term, setting up 16 chances in six games. He created 18 chances in the entirety of last season.

Keown says that the hybrid no.10 and striker role that Alvarez is occupying at the moment is similar to the one that Dutch legend Bergkamp operated in for Arsenal in the nineties and noughties.

“He reminds me of Bergkamp, because he starts as a striker and he wanders into that position (behind Haaland), and you’re wondering who’s going to pick him up,” Keown said on BBC Match of the Day.

“They haven’t missed De Bruyne, which is a massive credit to him. It’s his intelligence of movement really, where he just wanders into that spot; always looking for the space, always available, and always on the half turn.

“He stretches the backline and always keeps things moving. He’ll drift out wide as De Bruyne does, draws in the full back and creates space for other players to run into.”

The former Everton and England player added: “The technique is all there, he’s a great purchase, a World Cup winner. He’s got everything ahead of him, a wonderful talent.”

Alvarez impressed in the opening half of Man City’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday, but was subbed off for Nathan Ake after 57 minutes. Guardiola was forced into shuffling his deck following Rodri’s red card less than a minute after the second half got underway.

Golazo Merchants – Arsenal’s non-flying Dutchman, Dennis Bergkamp

See Also – Guardiola hails Man City ‘resilience’ after beating Forest

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