Barcelona academy product Martin Montoya is nearing a move to Liverpool in January, according to multiple reports on Friday.
According to the Mirror's David Maddock, Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre flew out to Spain in an effort to come to an agreement with the 22-year-old:
There is anger among fans of the Nou Camp giants at what is seen as negligence that such a highly-rated local youngster has been allowed to get so close to the end of his contract.
But that is Liverpool's gain - with sources at Barcelona indicating that talks have stalled fatally - and the 22-year-old is free to discuss terms with interested parties.
Liverpool were hoping to secure Montoya on a free at the end of the season, but it is thought Ayre has travelled out to discuss the possibility of a move in January.
Ayre's trip comes after news emerged that current left-back Jose Enrique would be out of action until early 2014 through injury.
It also helps the Reds to know that Montoya is out of contract in the summer of 2014. Such a situation means the club would be able to settle upon a pre-contract agreement in January, landing him for cheap in a summer move.
However, Liverpool reportedly want him now and will play on that threat to lure him Barcelona into an early sale.
The Daily Mail's Dominic King sums up the situation:
ESPN adds that a heap of competition in Barcelona's defence could prove the ultimate factor that sees Montoya through the Camp Nou exit. The youngster is currently seen as Gerardo Martino's fourth-choice left-back when his squad is fully fit.
Having said that, the defender has seen his playing time take a considerable boost of late, starting in all of his club's last four La Liga games, as well as the midweek meeting with Ajax in the Champions League, per Transfermartk.co.uk.
That is largely due to injuries to Dani Alves, Jordi Alba and Adriano, which have cleared his route into the first-team.
Montoya has received great plaudits from Spain, but the move nevertheless seems an odd one considering it was only this summer that Brendan Rodgers' side signed Aly Cissokho on loan from Valencia, presumably for injury cases such as this.
However, in the wake of Enrique's injury, it was right-back Jon Flanagan who started on the left side of defence for the Merseyside derby last weekend, impressing greatly, too.
It seems Rodgers isn't satisfied with Cissokho as his left-back cover and will instead look to lure Montoya.
Though not the same attacking talent as Alba, who could pass more as a winger most of the time, Montoya, like any Barca graduate, is taught in the methods of holding onto the ball and constructing play through fine passing motions.
The Reds look serious about giving the youngster more first-team opportunities in the English top flight.
While one star Spaniard may be crocked, it seems as though Rodgers could be set to add another to his ranks in the coming weeks.
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