Who is Man City’s new wonderkid, Claudio Echeverri, and why has he been dubbed ‘the next Messi’?

The next Álvarez? Or better yet, the next Messi?

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 26th January 2024

It’s been a relatively quiet January transfer window across the board, as it can often be for many teams, but Manchester City has completed another bit of exciting business as they officially announced the signing of so-called ‘wonderkid’ Claudio Echeverri — but who is he?

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder’s move from Argentine giants River Plate was confirmed on Thursday, 25 January, with Man City confirming that he will be loaned straight back to the club until this time next year.

Operating as an attacking midfielder, it’s fair to say that not only do the Blues have plenty of stars that play in the position but any new signing, no matter how senior, would struggle to find their way into that well-oiled machined.

Being given a contract until 2028 on a deal worth around £12.5 million plus add-ons despite only just turning 18, it’s fair to say City are putting a lot of faith in the highly-promising prospect but why exactly is he being so highly thought of at such a young age?

Claudio Echeverri signs for Manchester City.

For starters, it’s worth noting that some of his closest admirers have dubbed him ‘the next Lionel Messi‘, and not just because he’s young and a fellow compatriot.


Playing in an advanced role and predominantly as a classic number 10, the parallels are obvious and given his calmness and composure in front of goal, it didn’t take long for fans and pundits to turn the marriage of nationality, position, goalscoring and a fair amount of skill into the excitable comparison.

With a penchant for dribbling and having already captained Argentina’s youth side to the semi-finals of the U17 World Cup late last year, he’s already had a taster of having the weight of a nation’s hopes on his shoulders in some capacity. That’s the kind of character that should take to the Premier League well.


Scoring nine in six across the tournament, he bagged a hattrick in the quarters against Brazil before they lost on penalties to Germany, earning himself the chance to train with the first-team squad on a number of occasions.

At club level, despite only making six senior appearances for River Plate, he’s already won two trophies with them — the Argentine Primera Division and the Trofeo de Campeones — registering an assist within just four cameo appearances coming off the bench.

Speaking to Sky Sports, South American football expert Tim Vickery, made another key comparison, stating that “Echeverri is taking a similar path as Julián Álvarez: River Plate and Argentina to Manchester City and England – but with significant differences.


“Alvarez went at the age of 22 as a consolidated Argentina international and as the best player in Argentine football.

“Echeverri has only just turned 18 and we’ve hardly seen him in senior Argentine football. Just six games with most of those off the substitutes’ bench. It’s the same journey but with a very different route map.”

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Going on to caveat that although dubbing him the next Messi might be getting carried away at this stage, he did insist that the youngster’s “promise is huge”, highlighting his “real pace and changes of pace, changes of rhythm, real knowledge of where to hurt the opposition and attacking space”, in particular.

The consensus seems to be that he’s Claudio Echeverri is definitely one of the future and potentially a talent to build around in the long term and, thankfully, his loan move straight back to his previous club will allow him to keep playing more regular football just as Álvarez did before arriving at the Etihad.

With Kalvin Phillips having just been loaned to West Ham from City in search of minutes after missing valuable months due to being simply kept out by such a wealth of talent in the middle of the park, Pep Guardiola and his staff certainly won’t want to risk a similar situation.


One thing’s for sure, he’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

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Featured Images — Man City/Claudio Echeverri/Argentine National Team (via Instagram)