Newcastle United and Liverpool set for £20m transfer battle over Argentina star compared to Barcelona legend

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The Premier League rivals are both keen on one rising star in South America.

Boca Juniors midfielder Alan Varela is reportedly the subject of interest from Newcastle United and Liverpool.

The highly-rated 21-year-old was viewed as one of the most promising prospects with the Argentinian giants’ academy setup and broke into their senior setup when he made his debut in a 2-1 win at Independiente in December 2020. Since that maiden venture into the first-team, Varela has gone on to make 85 appearances and helped Boca claim the Primeira Division title, two Copa de la Liga wins and a Supercopa Argentina over the last two years.

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Speculation over a possible move to Europe was first published in January when La Liga giants Barcelona were reportedly considering a move for a player they viewed as a successor to midfield stalwart Sergio Busquets. Spanish outlet AS revealed Barca had stopped short of triggering a £20m release clause in Varela’s contract but remained keen on a move for the former Argentina youth international after receiving ‘excellent reports from their scouts and youth coaches’ in South America.

Newcastle were also linked with a move for the midfielder after he was named as one of a number of South American prospects being monitored by the Magpies. Two other midfield targets - Andrey Santos and Maximo Perrone - have since joined Chelsea and Manchester City respectively but Football Insider have now claimed United could return with another offer for Varela as they look to bolster their midfield options.

However, Benfica and Liverpool will provide competition for a player touted for a senior international call-up over the coming years. The Reds are set for an overhaul of their midfield options this summer with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita both expected to leave Anfield and they could be replaced by Varela, with the Argentinian said to be ‘keen to land a move to the Premier League’.

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