After Palermo chairman Maurizio Zamparini claimed he was an Arsenal player, Born Offside decided to take a closer look at Velez playmaker Ricardo Alvarez…

Arsene Wenger’s transfer strategy has been criticised in recent years. And so far this summer Man Utd and Liverpool have spend big to secure the best English talent, while the Gunners have spent just £1m on a relative unknown youngster from Charlton. Their second signing could make a much bigger statement.

The left-sided midfielder has drawn comparisons with Lionel Messi in the past

Although not a household name, Ricardo Alvarez is a player of undoubted talent. The left-sided midfielder has drawn comparisons with Lionel Messi in the past and possesses the eye for a killer pass. Tomas Rosicky and Andrey Arshavin failed to impress last season and Alvarez provides a young, fresh alternative on half the wages.

He has the versatility and to play anywhere in the midfield, and has the size to even be a force on set pieces in the middle. Alvarez could even replace Cesc Fabregas, if Arsenal decide to cash in and sell to Barcelona. His mobility and passing ability could make him a perfect foil for Jack Wilshere.

Alvarez road to the top has been an arduousness one. He suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in his first season at Velez keeping him out for nearly a year. When he returned in 2009 aged 21, Alvarez struggled to break into the Velez side that won the Argentine Primera Divison. He only played 18 minutes in the league all season due to injuries and lack of form.

His breakthrough came a year later; he started 11 games and scored his first goal in a 1-2 defeat against River Plate. And in the 2011 he was Velez’s shining light, scoring three times in 25 appearances and providing countless assists.

Alvarez’s fine form for Velez  has earned envious glances from all across Europe with Roma in particular credited with an interest but Palermo chairman, Maurizio Zamparini believes Arsenal have won the race to sign the 23-year-old.

Zamparini told Radio Kiss Kiss: “We did have a concrete bid for Alvarez and had him in our grasp back in January. Unfortunately, we didn’t complete the move in time, so we lost him to Arsenal.

“At this moment he has already signed for the Gunners.”

While Alvarez is certainly a talent, his arrival does little to fix the team’s biggest issues, in the back line and between the sticks. While Wenger has his sights set on several different defenders, but until he actually signs one of them, this team will continue to struggle for major honours.

That being said, Alvarez is certainly an exciting signing for the Gunners. He has the skills to star in Europe, and could become a valuable asset at Emirates for years to come.

Comments welcome.