Reports surfacing from Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo this morning claimed that newly-promoted outfit Newcastle United are beginning to close in on securing a deal for Atletico Madrid right-back Javier Manquillo.
Now, Sky Sports report that the player has arrived for a medical at St. James’ Park, ahead of his proposed switch from La Liga.
The 23-year-old defender has endured a testing time in the Spanish capital, struggling to make a dent in Diego Simeone’s first-team, and he spent last season on-loan at relegated side Sunderland.
Would Manquillo be able to improve on last season’s showing?
Although Newcastle fans can be forgiven for getting excited about seeing their team linked with an Atletico Madrid player, a swoop for Manquillo would certainly need to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Since joining Atletico’s youth team in 2007 after making the switch from arch-rivals Real Madrid things haven’t quite gone to plan in the ten years that have followed. After being awarded the call-up to the first-team in La Liga in 2011, Manquillo has only been awarded 17 appearances across three years.
For whatever reason, it just has not clicked between the Spaniard and boss Simeone, and since 2014 Manquillo has been sent out on-loan to Liverpool, French side Marseille and Sunderland respectively.
Enduring a terrible season at the Stadium of Light would not have helped his case in any way, shape or form, as he featured 22 times in a woeful side, but Benitez could give him the chance to revive his career.
There is certainly still potential in Manquillo – considering he is only 23-years-old – and under suitable management he could still turn into a very well-rounded, attack-minded and solid defender.
He has already had two years spent in the Premier League, which would enable him to adapt quickly under Benitez’s regime, and his innate positional sense and ability in the air would prove beneficial.
Part of his struggles last season were no doubt due to the team he was playing in too; it was clear from as early as September that Sunderland’s sole focus was to avoid relegation, showing little ambition, and that set the tone for the whole year. Alternatively, Newcastle will be a far more ambitious side.
He has all of the raw characteristics needed to enjoy a successful stint at the Magpies – he’s quick, athletic, strong but has that Spanish intelligence – and should a deal be done, it is a great bit of work.
It’s fairly clear to see that Manquillo’s time is up at the Vicente Calderon, as much as it may hurt him to leave his childhood club, and the offer of football at St James’ Park is an offer definitely worth taking.
It’s unclear as of yet what sort of fee Newcastle would have to fork out to secure the signing, but if reports claiming he is already having his medical are true, his arrival seems like a matter of time.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by FIFPro World Footballers’ Association.