Everything you need to know about... Javi Manquillo

Paul Wilkes provides the lowdown on the 20-year-old right-back linked with Liverpool and Arsenal...

The 60-second story

When Atletico Madrid's controversial president Jesus Gil closed down Los Rojiblancos' youth academy in 1992 to save money, it had an immediate negative effect. A 15-year-old by the name of Raul joined cross-town rivals Real Madrid, and became one of the greatest strikers in history.

Luckily, the youth system was reformed in time for Fernando Torres to progress through the ranks. Now there's a group of exciting prospects hoping to find regular first-team football at the Vicente Calderon, some of whom will be sold before reaching their full potential.

FACT FILE

  • Date of birth: May 5, 1994
  • Place of birth: Madrid, Spain
  • Position: Right-back
  • Height: 5ft 9in
  • Clubs: Real Madrid (youth), Atletico Madrid; 17 apps (14 starts), 0 goals
  • National: Spain U20; 7 caps, 0 goals
  • Honours: Copa del Rey (12/13), La Liga (13/14), U19 Euros (2009)

Oliver Torres, Saul Niguez and Jose Gimenez are joined by Javier Manquillo in hoping to follow midfield playmaker Koke into the starting line-up. Full-back Manquillo, however, has done a reverse-Raul having left Los Blancos to join Atletico.

The defender was part of Spain's Under-19 squad that won the European Championship in 2012, and his career under Diego Simeone was beginning to take flight until a nasty collision with Cristiano Ronaldo in February's Copa del Rey semi-final put him in a neck brace for a month.

Why you need to know him

Manquillo was originally expected to be back-up for Mathieu Debuchy at Arsenal next season, before Liverpool ramped up their interest and stole a march. The 20-year-old has played just six La Liga matches for Simeone's team, but has featured more regularly in the cup.

Nevertheless, in his few outings Manquillo has proved himself to be a reliable and dependable player who doesn't instantly stand out from the crowd. He does the simple things well and is careful not to over-elaborate. In terms of style he is closer to an Alvaro Arbeloa than a Jordi Alba.

His 14 tackles in only three league appearances last season was an exceptionally high amount. He is adaptable and can play on the left if required, like fellow countryman Cesar Azpilicueta.

When David Villa surprisingly made the move to Los Rojiblancos for a small fee from Barcelona last summer, Manquillo was one of three players that the Catalans wanted first option on. There remains some doubt to the actual terms and conditions, but the fact they are paying attention shows his pedigree.

The player needs minutes on the pitch to aid his development, with the FA and League cups giving him the perfect opportunity to showcase his talent.

Strengths

Manquillo isn't your stereotypical Spanish full-back. Unlike many of his fellow professionals, he prioritises defending above the art of attacking. His positional sense is excellent, and by scarcely venturing forward he is rarely caught out.

For a relatively small player (5ft 9in) he is superb in the air with a tremendous leap. He likes to play short passes and will give the ball to more creative figures, rather than trying anything spectacular himself. 

Meanwhile, his understanding of the game, athleticism and strength means he could be used as a centre-back.

Weaknesses

As attacking full-backs offer width and are now a modern necessity, this is an area in which he can increase his proficiency. His crossing is particularly poor, but by playing within the right team and tactical setup these problems can be negated. Any improvement in the attacking third shouldn't come at a cost to his natural game or defensive stability.

As with many young players he needs to improve his concentration, which will come with more game time.

They said...

"Manquillo is growing and coming off a major injury," said Atleti boss Simeone shortly before the end of the campaign. "He does not play much, but he has the freshness of of a young guy who can give us things."

Did you know ?

Javier is a twin. When Real Madrid's youth co-ordinator of the time, Ricardo Gallego, informed brother Victor that he was no longer required, Javier felt the emotional ties to his brother were too strong to stay on his own. Victor joined Atletico with Javier, who now plays for Rayo Vallecano as a striker.

TALENTSPOTTER RATINGS

  • Shooting 4
  • Heading 7
  • Passing 7
  • Tackling 8
  • Pace 8
  • Dribbling 6
  • Creativity 4
  • Work-rate 8

What happens next

If Manquillo's transfer to England goes through, the Spaniard will get at least 12 months to impress. His new manager will then assess the youngster's betterment and decide if he wishes to make him a permanent fixture.

Only time will tell where Manquillo's long-term future remains, but he is equipped to compete at the biggest clubs. Atletico's financial position means they are always looking to cash in on players every year, but knowing when to release them for maximum profit is the key.


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