When you’re a club like Liverpool, you’re used to being the subject of plenty of media attention.
Barely a day goes by without words on the Reds being written in a newspaper, magazine or web page―look, here’s some more!―and whilst you know that the insights and opinion offered here will always be accurate and forthright, it can be difficult to keep track of just what is right and just what is wrong elsewhere.
Very occasionally though, a story on the Reds breaks that you’ll know is 100% accurate.
Full backs in the news on Merseyside with Martinez saying Baines goes nowhere in January & Liverpool entering the race for Martin Montoya.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) November 28, 2013
It is being tweeted by all the right people, backed up by all the right sources and reported in all the right places. In the past seven days, the story of the club being interested in Barcelona’s Martin Montoya has been that story, seen here in The Guardian.
On the face of it, a move for the 22-year-old full-back would appear to make perfect sense.
He, like Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho, Mamadou Sakho and Victor Moses did in the past year, would be making the move from one of the continent’s elite clubs to Liverpool, who wouldn’t like to see that move described as a step down, but would have to realistically admit that they aren’t in a position to offer a player the glamour of the club they are leaving. For now anyway.
What they can offer though is the status as one of the world’s heavyweight clubs, the fanatical backing of supporters and the opportunity to play alongside world stars such as Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard. People might say it is a step down on paper, but it won’t feel like one once they put the red shirt on.
Martin Montoya a prime target for @LFC in January; LFC officials were in Barcelona today; Montoya is out of contract at end of the season— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) November 28, 2013
Whether Montoya will ever do that remains to be seen, but the possibilities of a move certainly appear to be increasing.
The Catalan will be out of contract at the end of the season, making the possibility of a cut-price transfer in January a very real one as Barca look to earn some money for a player who came through the famed La Masia academy before reaching the B team in 2009.
A first-team debut arrived two years later, but the presence of the likes of Dani Alves, Jordi Alba and Adriano Correia at the Nou Camp has seen progress stall since then, and he’s managed just 30 La Liga appearances in the four seasons he’s been in the picture with the senior side.
That shouldn’t detract from his quality though―being on the fringes of things at Barcelona is hardly worthy of derision―and he played in every game as Spain stylishly clinched European Under-21 Championship glory in Denmark last summer.
That tournament marked an end to his involvement with youth sides though, and as he looks to embark on a successful career in senior football he might just have decided that he needs to leave his boyhood club in order to find more of it.
Such a decision can never be taken lightly of course, but should he join Liverpool, then he’ll know that he has an instant opportunity to stake his claim in Brendan Rodgers’ side.
The full-back positions remain a problem for the Liverpool manager, just as they were for several of his predecessors.
On the right, Glen Johnson remains as much of a first-choice pick as he’s ever been, but it is the left side which is requiring the most attention, with Jose Enrique injured, on-loan Aly Cissokho not convincing many that he’s worthy of a permanent deal and Jon Flanagan committed, but playing outside of his natural position, something that Johnson has often done too.
Should he end up stationed on the left, the right-footed Montoya would be doing that as well, but the defender’s upbringing in Barcelona makes him comfortable on the ball and able to operate on either side of a four-man back line.
Indeed, should he sign then he might remind Liverpool fans of Alvaro Arbeloa, a full-back who arrived at the club from Spain in January 2007 and was thrown into a debut at left-back in a Champions League victory in Barcelona, where he was up against one Lionel Messi.
Arbeloa did well too. Perhaps a young Montoya―then a 15-year-old member of La Masia―was watching on.
Maybe Montoya’s experience of Liverpool will get a little greater soon, something that those believable reports highlight.
He’d be a good signing too, and one who is sure to have plenty written about him in the coming years.