Quickly promoted to top performer at Vélez Sarsfield, Máximo Perrone is moving to Manchester City. SPOX presents the top talent.
“We have a boy in our academy who is spectacular,” said Gabriel Heinze, a former Argentina international and active for Manchester United and Real Madrid, among others, in 2020. Heinze, now on the sidelines at Newell’s Old Boys, was a coach at the time by Velez Sarsfield. Who did he mean? Máximo Perrone, then 17 years old.
“I don’t want to raise him just yet because he’s still very young. But that was a difficult decision,” explained Heinze, who was to leave Vélez a short time later. If he had stayed longer, it might not have taken another two years before Perrone finally played for the first team of the traditional Argentine club from Buenos Aires in early 2022.
But maybe it was just right to give the highly talented midfielder the necessary time to develop. In any case, Perrone made the leap to becoming a top performer at Vélez so quickly that the big clubs in Europe became even more aware of the now 20-year-old. Manchester City recently won the contract, bringing Perrone to England for a whopping eleven million euros.
Maximo Perrone: The first steps
Born in January 2003 in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, Perrone was first discovered by Vélez scouts at the age of six. However, with the club’s academy not yet having a team appropriate for this young age, it was agreed that Perrone would join Vélez once he was old enough. Until then he played for smaller clubs in Villa Devoto, a district in western Buenos Aires.
When he was finally allowed to join Vélez, he tried out different positions there: winger, striker, full-back, half-position in midfield – Perrone played almost everything.
However, he initially found it difficult to be a regular player in his teams. That only changed in the U13s when his coach at the time, Cristian Gomez, explicitly promoted him as part of a double six in midfield. It should be Perrone’s ideal position.
Máximo Perrone: The big breakthrough
In 2019, at 16, Perrone signed his first professional contract with Veléz. He had some strong performances for Argentina’s U16 national team at the time – but it was a while before he made his debut with the pros.
He finally made his Vélez first-team debut in February 2022, aged 19, in a friendly against city rivals River Plate. And Perrone was so convincing that he has hardly been missing from the starting XI since then.
At the beginning of March 2022, his competitive debut followed in a 1-1 draw against Estudiantes, and from then on Perrone almost always played from the start. The first big highlight was his 3-2 injury-time winner in the Copa Libertadores game against Club Nacional in May last year, with which he laid the foundation for Vélez’s four group games without a win in the end knockout phase could move in.
Máximo Perrone: That’s how it’s going
Also thanks to Perrone and with the then 19-year-old as a leading player, Vélez made it to the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores last year.
Bitter for the City newcomer: Due to a pneumothorax, he missed both semi-final games against Flamengo, in which the Argentines had no chance in the end.
Perrone also missed important games in the league between the end of August and mid-October and was only able to help his team, which was in a relegation battle, in the final games of the season.
In the end, relegation was avoided – and for Perrone personally it was a good first season in the professional field with 33 competitive appearances in which he scored three goals and two assists.
So now he’s making the leap to Europe and wants to make a name for himself at City, and Perrone has signed with the English champions until 2028. The adventure there begins for him earlier than he probably would have wished: he played the U20 South American Championship with Argentina’s U20s, but with only three points from four games the young world champions missed the leap into the final round. Perrone did, however, score in a 2-1 draw with Paraguay.
Máximo Perrone: His strengths
Perrone has a mature technique, a fine left foot and is very intelligent. What is striking about him: He anticipates the movements of the opponents extremely well before accepting the ball, which means he often has very clever opening movements and can thus initiate attacks.
The first contact is strong, he also has great qualities in tackling and has high dynamics. In addition, he is good at anticipating the opponent’s pass paths and thus winning the ball – for a six, of course, one of the most important skills.
Máximo Perrone: What he needs to work on
Perrone is a very complete midfielder for his age and can also be a goal threat. He could possibly expand this potential and sometimes push even more vehemently into the penalty area to score goals himself or assist them.
Another thing he could improve on is his right foot. This would possibly make Perrone’s game even more variable.
Maximo Perrone: The new… Fernando Redondo?
Fine left foot, intelligent play, elegant movements, a good mix of overview and dynamics, the occasional special move: the playing styles of Perrone and Fernando Redondo are actually similar.
That’s why comparisons were made early on in Argentina with former Albiceleste star Redondo, who won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid and AC Milan (1998, 2000 and 2003). Successes that Perrone would also like to celebrate with City in the future.
Maximo Perrone: What’s next?
As mentioned, Perrone has signed at Manchester until 2028. At City, he might be seen as a long-term investment in the future, a player who could potentially mark an era.
However, Perrone must of course continue to develop slowly and steadily. He has been playing regularly at professional level for less than a year – it doesn’t seem particularly realistic that he will immediately assert himself in a star ensemble and perhaps the best and most intensive league in the world.
But one thing is also clear: After a certain period of adjustment, Perrone could well become Rodri’s new partner in the midfield center of coach Pep Guardiola’s team. In the case of Ilkay Gündogan, it is still not clear whether he will extend his contract, which expires at the end of June 2023, and apart from that, City currently only has Kalvin Phillips as a classic six in the squad alongside Rodri. So Perrone could open up opportunities.