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Manchester City have completed the signing of the Argentinian teenager Claudio Echeverri from River Plate for £12.5m plus add-ons.
Echeverri, an attacking midfielder who idolises Lionel Messi, will spend the rest of 2024 in his home country after being loaned straight back to River Plate.
The 18-year-old, who attracted interest from Barcelona last year, has signed a four-and-a-half year contract at the Etihad Stadium, is set to link up with City in January 2025.
Echeverri will follow in the footsteps of Julian Alvarez, who was also bought from River and immediately loaned back to the Buenos Aires club before moving to Manchester.
At River, his manager is former City centre-back Martin Demichelis.
He sprang to prominence in last season’s Under-17 World Cup, scoring a hat-trick in the quarter-final win over Brazil and helping Argentina finish fourth.
Echeverri, who has made six appearances for River, has since graduated to the Argentina Under-23 squad.
He becomes City’s first January signing while Kalvin Phillips is set to leave the club when he joins West Ham on loan.