Scout Report: Javier Manquillo

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Liverpool are reportedly pursuing a deal for another transfer target – this time Javier Manquillo of Atletico Madrid. Ben Twelves takes a look at the Spanish defender. 

Reports on Tuesday afternoon claimed that Liverpool are in talks over the possibility of completing a deal to sign Spanish right-back Javier Manquillo from Atletico Madrid from under the noses of fellow suitors, Arsenal.

Liverpool had previously been reported to have attempted to sign Manquillo back in the January transfer window.

The Liverpool Echo revealed that talks are at an early stage, suggesting that a reported ‘try before you buy’ deal isn’t as close as some national media and reports from Spain propose however.

Several reports say that the potential signing of the Spaniard is on a possible year-long loan deal with an option to purchase the player permanently if all goes to plan. Spanish media claim that future fee for a permanent transfer is around €6 million.

Brendan Rodgers has already added offensive quality to his squad this transfer window bringing in four players, but much needed defensive reinforcements are yet to arrive at Anfield. However, it seems that the 20-year-old right back could well be a new addition in the defensive shake up and one of the next players in the door at Anfield.

Footballing Background

Born in 1994, Manquillo started his football career at the academy set-up of giants Real Madrid, but he then later signed for city rivals and current Spanish champions, Atletico. The full back has represented Spain at all ages from under 16s to under 20s but is yet to feature for either the under 21s or national team. He was part of the Spanish under 19s squad that won the European Under19 Championship in 2012.

Manquillo has featured primarily for Atletico Madrid’s ‘B’ side while at the club, where he has racked up 42 appearances but he’s also played 17 times for the Atletico first team. The Madrid born prospect made his La Liga debut in November 2012 at the age of 18, where he came on as a second half substitute for Chelsea new-boy, Felipe Luis.

In what was a magnificent season for Atletico last campaign, as they were crowned Champions of Spain, Manquillo made three league appearances as manager Diego Simeone nurtured a tightly-knitted squad, and one Champions League outing against Porto in the group stage of the competition.

Style of Play

Manquillo is a natural right back – a position that has become a problem area at Liverpool in recent seasons.

The 20-year-old is noted for his defensive stability that coincides with his attacking prowess and marauding forward runs. The under 20 international possesses great athleticism and is quick across the ground as well as being noted for his tackling ability – key attributes for defenders in modern football and especially in 1v1 situations.

He is a brave defender, who closes his opponents’ space extremely sharply and looks to win the ball back quickly, hunting and chasing the ball down when in the right areas to regain possession. This is reflected in his making of 4.7 tackles and winning of 3.7 ariel duels per game, which outshines Glen Johnson, who last season made only 2.2 tackles and won only 1.4 of his ariel duels per game in the Premier League.

As with modern full-backs, Manquillo is extremely capable of bursting forward and attacking space – carrying the ball by dribbling – and he marauds forward from deep to get in behind opposition defensive lines. This is best displayed in an assist that the pacey right-back claimed against Levante  – arriving from deep and getting in behind – before rolling a teasing ball across the face of goal which was knocked home by teammate Adrian at the back post.

Report: Liverpool tried to sign Atletico Madrid’s Javier Manquillo on deadline day

The 5’10 defender is a composed player who looks to keep possession off the ball. He likes to play short and into his teammates feet, but his pass completion rate per game of 72.6% needs improving and compares considerably worse off than Johnson’s of 84.1%. However, with the work of our manager that can be improved and the youngster certainly has characteristics that would undoubtedly appeal to Brendan Rodgers.

Joining Liverpool

The right-back slot in the Liverpool team is a position that has seen frustration increase over time with sustained periods of sloppy form from Glen Johnson, with his contract expiring next summer, Manquillo could be the future for The Reds.

A deal for the Atletico Madrid man is likely to prove a fairly cheap one for the club and it makes perfect to sense to bring him in for the little cost reported, in a position where Liverpool have everything to gain.

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