Argentina international Julian Alvarez has agreed to join Manchester City from River Plate, the Buenos Aires side confirmed on Sunday.

River Plate's president Jorge Brito confirmed the Premier League champion had paid the 21-year-old forward's release clause, but added that he would not move to England until July at the earliest after signing a loan deal with the Argentines.

Alvarez helped fire River Plate to the Argentine league title last November with 18 goals. He made his international debut last year, forming part of the Argentina squad that won the Copa America in July.

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"If you look at everything Julian has done it was always likely his release clause would be met," Brito told Argentine network Fox Sports Premium . "The hardest thing was to agree a loan move, because Julian is practically irreplaceable in the squad."

Brito revealed Alvarez would remain on loan until July 7 and that the contract contained a clause allowing him to stay for the second half of the year if River reach the latter stages of the Copa Libertadores, South America's equivalent of the Champions League.

Argentine newspaper Ole reported that City will pay River $26 million dollars (19 million pounds) for Alvarez, making him the club's most expensive sale since Javier Saviola moved to Barcelona in 2001.

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River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo confirmed the deal.

"It's a good deal as he gets to stay with us for a little longer and joins a big club, one of the top sides in the world with huge economic power," he said after his side beat Platense 3-0.

"At the moment City don't need him and we don't have to look for a player of his quality, which would be very difficult."

By signing Alvarez, Premier League leader City strengthens its forward line after selling Spain striker Ferran Torres to Barcelona in January.