Tottenham Hotspur are close to signing a striker for the future, and he’s coming from a familiar country — Argentina. According to various sources including Dan Kilpatrick in the Evening Standard, Spurs are closing in on 19-year old Argentina U20 international Alejo Veliz, currently playing for Rosario Central. Personal terms are already agreed and it sounds as though a transfer fee of around £12m will be decided very soon. Fabrizio Romano states that Rosario Central would like to keep him on loan for at least six months.
Alejo Véliz has agreed personal terms with Tottenham, player wants to join — long term contract in place. ⚪️✨— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 3, 2023
Negotiations are underway between clubs — Rosario Central ask to keep Véliz on loan for at least six months. pic.twitter.com/IdrKYkdBsc
Before you ask, no I’ve never seen this kid play and the odds are very good that unless you’re a particular devotee of Argentinian club football, you haven’t either. But here’s what his stats say: he has 11 goals from 59 shots in just over 1700 minutes thus far this season for Rosario Central, which comes out to a rather gaudy 0.51 npxG+xA/90. Pretty good! He also reportedly impressed in the U20 World Cup this past spring where he had three goals for Argentina before the hosts were knocked out in the round of 16.
Naturally, he has a WELCOME TO TOTTENHAM highlight reel already. Here it is.
So it appears Tottenham’s newly-hired statistic nerds are hard at work on this particular signing. It’s hard to take too much from a highlights video on YouTube, but that plus his stats make him look like a pure insdie-the-box striker — he crashes the box and looks decent in the air but doesn’t take a lot of touches and doesn’t appear to be a volume shooter.
You can, however, instantly see how he might be a plus add under Ange Postecoglou with a little time and experience: he looks like a very good finisher with a good instinct for tucking away chances presented to him in the penalty area. Tottenham are likely going to create buckets of chances going forward under Postecoglou, and this is a kid who seems to thrive on finishing them.
All that said, it doesn’t sound as though he’s quite finished baking yet. That’s unsurprising, considering he’s 19, and the leap from playing against River Plate and Boca Juniors to Manchester City and Arsenal is pretty massive. Rosario Central are apparently asking for at least a partial season loan-back and with Richarlison likely Tottenham’s starting striker (assuming Harry Kane is sold) for the foreseeable future that doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.
This was the idea, though — if Harry Kane does go, use his funds to focus on defensive reinforcements and buy a young attacker with a super high upside. The nerds have apparently settled on Veliz as that high upside guy, and right now I can’t say they’re wrong about that. His profile is maybe a little one-dimensional and you’d wish for more shots than what he’s getting with Rosario Central, but the profile is definitely there. Gift Orban was the buzzy name on everyone’s lips the past few days, but based on a cursory look at his statistics and highlights I can’t say I’d be too disappointed to find Veliz under Tottenham’s tree.