It’s six months since Brighton & Hove Albion sealed the transfer of Alexis Mac Allister from Argentinos Juniors and after remaining in La Paternal for the remainder of the Superliga season, it has now been confirmed that the 20-year-old will spend the next year with Boca Juniors.
A host of clubs were vying for Mac Allister’s signature in the knowledge that the midfielder still hadn’t acquired the necessary paperwork to make the switch to England.
Argentinos had hoped to retain their academy product’s services for at least another six months while Boca were competing with Independiente, Racing and San Lorenzo for a year-long loan before Alexis ultimately opted for La Bombonera, putting pen to paper on a loan until June 2020.
It is certainly not ideal for Brighton, who paid around £7 million for Mac Allister in January but technical director Dan Ashworth tried to put a positive spin on things: “Alexis is an exciting young talent and he will continue his development for the next year in his homeland, with one of Argentina’s biggest clubs, playing in the Argentine first division and South America’s prestigious Copa Libertadores.
“We will continue to monitor his development over the 12-month period and review his position next summer.”
Father Carlos, who joined Boca from Argentinos in 1992, had explained that if Brighton granted only a six-month loan Alexis would stay at the Estadio Diego Armando Maradona but if it was extended to the year then it would likely be Boca or Independiente.
An early target for new Independiente manager Sebastián Beccacece, El Rojo spoke at length with Alexis and his father to explain their position and attempt to convince the player of their project but ultimately the lure of playing at the club he supported as a child was too great.
“I went with my heart, so I’m going to Boca. If I had gone with my head, I would have gone to Independiente, where I would be more likely to be a starter, but I am a Boca fan,” Alexis explained after undergoing his medical with Boca.
Certainly competition for places at Boca will be stiffer with Carlos Tevez, Mauro Zárate and Emanuel Reynoso all operating in a similar position to where Alexis would ordinarily play. As a number ten for Argentinos, Alexis scored five Superliga goals last season but explained that he is equally comfortable playing deeper alongside a number five.
That versatility and the fact that Boca will be balancing their Copa Libertadores campaign will prove useful and certainly Gustavo Alfaro has acquired a supremely talented player.
Presumably Mac Allister will continue working on acquiring his European passport and in theory the midfielder will make the move to Brighton next June.