Ian Ayre is on a mission to bring one of Spain’s most talked about youngsters, Barcelona’s Martin Montoya, to Liverpool.
Reports on Friday suggested the Reds are willing to part with cash to capture his signature in January, rather than as a free agent next summer.
It won’t come easy though, as Liverpool prepare to fight for another player against Champions League clubs, according to David Maddock in the Mirror:
The Reds are at the head of a queue that also includes Arsenal and Inter Milan, after forging strong links with the Barca board during ongoing talks over the future of goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who could still move back to his former club at the end of this season following a year on loan at Napoli.
An Excellent Prospect
Montoya is certainly already an exciting player. He’s got pace and is tricky with his feet, able to accelerate forward and has been known to strike a ball well from distance, too.
At the back, the 22-year-old has demonstrated maturity both for Barcelona, and the Spanish Under-21 side. He can play the ball with a soft touch, able to influence the pace of the game.
Last season Montoya made 15 appearances in La Liga for Barcelona, scoring once. His impressive stats, from Squawka, saw him achieve a 91 percent pass accuracy record, creating two chances, and earning a performance score of 578.
Andy Hunter wrote in the Guardian that Montoya "can operate in both full-back positions"—an ideal solution to kill two birds with one stone at Liverpool.
With the Reds' recent troubles at left-back well documented and Glen Johnson being the club’s only experienced right-back, the signing of Montoya seems essential.
In Montoya, Rodgers would have the option of cover on both sides, and a first-team regular in the making.
Johnson has spent time on the sidelines twice already this season.
Whilst his absence at right-back was comfortably, but not outstandingly, covered by Jon Flanagan at Arsenal earlier this month, the games he missed in September and October must have given Brendan Rodgers a headache.
With Johnson out, Rodgers trialed a few options down the right. Andre Wisdom, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling were all given auditions against Swansea, Sunderland and Crystal Palace respectively, but all three failed to provide adequate cover.
Furthermore, Martin Kelly looked exhausted on his brief return from long-term injury, with his future position looking more suited to centre-back.
Montoya can replicate both the defensive astuteness and attacking ammunition of Johnson.
He would provide the 29-year-old England international with not only first-class cover, but also healthy competition, of which Johnson has had little of since replacing Alvaro Arbeloa in 2009.
Jose Enrique will be missing from Liverpool’s left side of defence until February, whilst Aly Cissokho has had somewhat of an uninspiring start to his career at Anfield.
Should Montoya sign, his first job may well be to fill in at left full-back, relieving the pressure from Flanagan, who is two years younger.
Ayre should go all-out to sign Montoya.
With visible, squad-deep problems in both full-back positions, the signing of Montoya could allow resources to be spent elsewhere in the team—such as bringing in a central defensive midfielder.
He is an exciting and young proposition, who can go straight into the first-team and do a good job on either side of defence.