And after a summer transfer window of ponderous, questionable moves in the transfer market, the January window is a chance to make amends.
According to Maddock, Moyes will waste no time in moving for the Spaniard dubbed the next Xavi Hernandez, with a figure of £30 million quoted as a figure likely to make Atleti think about selling their prize asset.
Koke is a supremely talented young player, and if Moyes and Manchester United can facilitate a deal, then he can be a hugely important player for the team for years to come.
Moyes has been to watch Koke personally on a couple of occasions this season and such is the regard he holds this young player in, he has given the go-ahead to make the 21-year-old his record signing in the opening days of the January window.
Having made his Atleti debut aged just 17 at the Camp Nou, Koke’s recent rise to prominence has coincided with Atletico Madrid’s renaissance. Typically playing from the left-hand-side of a midfield four, Koke has really started to catch the eye for Los Colchoneros.
|Koke Stats 2013/14 (All Competitions|
|Appearances (As A Substitute)||21 (2)|
|Key Passes Per Game||2.2|
Whilst he has impressed from this wide position, he is expected to star eventually in an orthodox central midfield position.
Needless to say, this is an area in which United are particularly short. Moyes’ biggest signing to date, Marouanne Fellaini, has struggled to find his feet, and after his summer pursuits of both Ander Herrera and Cesc Fabregas, it is clear the Scot is looking for a cultured attacking midfield player to complement the burly Fellaini and neat-and-tidy Michael Carrick.
Talking about his teammate, Diego Costa has this to say about the Madrileno midfielder (courtesy of Four Four Two Magzine Issue 234):
He’s got pure class; a different way of reading the game with a great final pass.
All I can say is thank God he’s been assisting me to score goals. He is one of the best and I’m sure he’s got a brilliant future with the Spanish team.
Koke is certainly a player who fits the bill in that respect. And despite the heroics of this Atletico Madrid team this season, the bright lights and extortionate pay packets that come as part and parcel of the Premier League might be difficult to turn down.
Of course, Atletico would be reluctant to sell. But they have regularly moved on their star players with a view to paying off some debts and reinvesting in the squad. A sum of £30 million for a young player might be too tempting to turn their nose up at.
And of players courted linked with a move to Manchester United in the January window—including Adam Lallana and Marco Reus—Koke seems the most likely and most attainable target.
He’s already a class act and would bring plenty to a toiling Red Devils' midfield. But he is still young and still learning at the top level. There is seemingly no cap on how good he could become and when you look this potential deal from a long-term perspective, £30 million would be an astute piece of business.
The main stumbling block in this deal would most likely be whether Koke, a Madrileno academy graduate (he famously laid an Atletico Madrid flag in the centre circle of the Bernabeu after their 2-1 Copa Del Rey win against Los Blancos in 2013), would walk out on the club when they are in such a great position.
United will have to fight tooth and nail to get him and Moyes will have to be at his most convincing to convince Koke to jump ship. But he’s certainly a talent well worth the scrap.