Sitting close to the foot of the table and in grave relegation danger Argentinos Juniors wouldn’t want to lose any of their important first team players in this window. However, for Premier League club Brighton to pay upwards of $9 million for Alexis Mac Allister and for the 20-year-old to remain in La Paternal until the end of the season, there are positives for Los Bichos.
Injury has restricted Mac Allister to only seven starts for Argentinos Juniors this season but his three goals and creativity on the ball provide one of the hopes that the famous club can avoid another relegation this season.
After travelling to England to finally put pen to paper on the deal, Brighton manager Chris Hughton said: “Alexis is an exciting young player that we have brought in for the future, and he has already made a big impact playing in Argentina. It is in the best interests of all three parties to allow him to return to Juniors, as he will be able to continue playing regular first-team football in a very competitive league.”
✍️ Mac Allister has signed four-and-a-half year deal with the Seagulls!
— Brighton & Hove Albion ⚽️ (@OfficialBHAFC) January 24, 2019
That much seems true. An exciting prospect without question, whether Alexis would be ready to contribute immediately in the Premier League is less certain while his value in Argentina remains high.
Boca Juniors were keen to add the attacking midfielder and had even hoped that Brighton would seen Mac Allister in their direction once the transfer was complete. Thankfully for Argentinos that hasn’t happened and so the Superliga’s lowest scorers will still be able to rely on the academy product in their bid for survival over the coming weeks.
“The main reason I signed was because they came to Argentina looking for me, and they seemed very convinced about me,” Alexis told Brighton’s official website.
“They made a big effort, told me about their project and their ideas to keep growing in this league, and I liked their ideas. I liked what they said.
“I watch a lot of football and for me the English league is the best in the world. It is above all the other leagues. That’s the challenge for me, to be able to perform in that league and to bring my contribution to this team.”
The son of former Boca and Argentina full-back Carlos Mac Allister, Alexis came through the same illustrious Argentinos Juniors academy as his father along with his two brothers, Kevin and Francis. All three are currently in the first team squad at the Estadio Diego A. Maradona and while left-back Kevin has also attracted interest it has always been the more attacking Alexis to have garnered most attention.
The youngest of three, Alexis operates as a number ten and with his eye for goal, passing ability and intelligent late runs into the penalty area the 20-year-old is a difficult player to contain when on song.
“I feel I am a player who really likes to get on the ball, that is my style,” Mac Allister described himself to his new club.
Now more than ever Argentinos Juniors need Alexis on the pitch and on the ball. With five goals scored all season and another change of managers, the Bichos have been dragged into the thick of the relegation battle and need points in 2019.
“I am really pleased I can go back for six months and help Argentinos, and these six months will help me a lot. I will keep progressing with my team and be calm in my head. I’ll be able to enjoy playing for the club which has given me everything.”
If Mac Allister can ensure Argentinos Juniors’ survival he will have repaid that debt.