Peru is a nation with a history of talented forwards. Claudio Pizarro, for example, scored nearly 200 times in the Bundesliga with Bremen and Bayern. Jefferson Farfan made over 200 appearances for Schalke and picked up a lot of silverware in the Netherlands with PSV. Peru’s all-time leading goalscorer, Paulo Guerrero, has had a prolific career that has seen him star in Germany and Brazil.
André Carrillo remains controversial in Portugal, having crossed the infamous Benfica – Sporting divide. Gianluca Lapadula has seemingly played for every club in Italy. Raúl Ruidíaz has scored prolifically in the MLS. Further back, the legendary Teófilo Cubillas bagged ten goals over three World Cups, a record bettered by just seven players. The list goes on and on.
However, Peru are starting a new era. Many of the country’s long-time players are approaching retirement, and Peru missed out on qualification for the 2022 World Cup. Now, Peru are turning to the next generation of players — and they have one forward who really stands out.
Jostin Alarcón was born in Peru’s capital, Lima — the same city where many of those elite forwards grew up. However, Alarcón did not start his career with one of Lima’s “Big Three” of Universitario, Allianza Lima, and Sporting Cristal. Instead, he started with Deportivo Municipal before joining Sports Boys in 2021. By 18, Alarcón made his professional debut and began to get involved with the first team.
Now 20, Alarcón is one of the strongest forwards in the Peruvian Liga 1. In 20 starts, he has five goals and six assists, one of the highest G+A in all of Peru. Sport Boys have just 33 goals so far this season, with Alarcón directly contributing to a full one-third of them.
Alarcón can play anywhere in attack, but is better on the flanks. He’s versatile, playing at CAM, RW, and LW so far this season, although mainly on the left. From out wide, he’s able to use his dribbling and speed to beat his man before putting in a cross. His crossing and passing are very good, and Alarcón can shoot from range — he’s scored a few screamers in the past.
In August, Alarcón made his debut for the Peru U23 team, and will likely be on the senior team soon enough. He’s just 20, but Alarcón may be on the move soon enough. He’s ready to take the next step in his career, and his contract expires in 2023 — meaning Sport Boys should sell now to get what he’s worth. While the Bundesliga has proved to be a stepping stone for Peruvians in recent years, it’s probably a bit early in his career to move to such a big league.
The MLS has gained a reputation for developing South Americans in recent years, and several clubs across the league could use the offensive boost Alarcón provides. The Brazilian Serie A or Argentine Primera División could also be a good move, if he wants to stay (relatively) local and develop in a stronger league.
With Peru starting to rebuild internationally, Alarcón will likely be brought into the fold sooner rather than later. His playmaking abilities as well as his talent at finding the right pass make the Peruvian an asset on the pitch, whether at club level or internationally. It’s only a matter of time before other clubs figure that out, too.
Image Courtesy of Dewarvga, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
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