If Manchester United do not sign Atletico Madrid's versatile midfielder Koke, one suggested summer transfer window alternative is Sevilla's Victor Machin Perez, also known as Vitolo, so here is a scouting report on the 24-year-old Spaniard.
Why Would Koke Join United?
Atleti are a team with grit and finesse, two salient traits in Koke, who leads La Liga in assists (13).
Even if Koke was open to joining United based on their illustrious history, he would be downgrading from Diego Simeone to David Moyes, who is struggling to manage United in a post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
On Diego Simeone and why he fitted Atletico perfectly ... http://t.co/SeFx5TEjjj— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) April 1, 2014
|League Only||Moyes 13-14||Ferguson 12-13|
|Goals Scored Ranking||4th||1st|
|Goals Per Game||1.7||2.3|
Then Atleti manager Abel Resino gave Koke his professional debut as a 17-year-old.
You could see his talent when he played for Quique Flores and Gregorio Manzano, but the hiring of Simeone changed Koke's career.
Koke, a 22-year-old Spanish international, has transitioned from a prospect to a world-class footballer under Simeone.
Simeone has turned Atleti into a La Liga and UEFA Champions League-contending team, which is why Koke has no plans on leaving Atleti.
"My future here [at Atleti] will be long," Koke said, per Marca (h/t Francisco Acedo at Sky Sports). "The rumours in the paper will have no impact on my game. I am young, but I am calm."
Back to the drawing board for United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and Moyes, so here is why Vitolo should be considered as a transfer alternative to Koke.
Vitolo is predominately a right-footed inverted winger on the left flank and has started 23 of 26 La Liga games he has been selected for.
Signed from Las Palmas for €3/£2.5 million, per Marca, Vitolo is on course to receive a career pay-day like former Las Palmas player Salomon Rondon, who is starring for Gazprom-backed FC Zenit.
Bienvenido matador! REY SALOMON! Welcome to Zenit, King Salomon! pic.twitter.com/AvklL00HgE— FC Zenit in English (@fczenit_en) January 31, 2014
Sevilla central attacking midfielder/central midfielder Ivan Rakitic, centre-forward Carlos Bacca and left-back Alberto Moreno are extravagantly praised players.
Vitolo should garner the same hype as his aforementioned teammates.
Vitolo is a powerful runner with straight-line speed. Go ask Real Madrid right-back Alvaro Arbeloa and the Barcelona players.
In one play against Barcelona, Vitolo demonstrated finesse in dragging the ball past Barca central midfielder Sergio Busquets which simultaneously wrong-footed centre-back Gerard Pique, who subsequently attempted to drag Vitolo down.
Vitolo has strength and possesses exceptional balance which enabled him to shrug off Pique's challenge.
This is why Vitolo (six) is second to Rakitic (10) in assists at Sevilla and total chances created (Rakitic, 72; Vitolo, 41), per Squawka.com.
Vitolo's physical talent and ball-control contributes to him getting into advantageous positions.
During a play against Real, he blitzed past Arbeloa, forced centre-back Raphael Varane out of position and squared the ball to Sevilla right-attacking midfielder Jairo.
In another play, Vitolo played a one-touch pass, which put Sevilla centre-forward Kevin Gameiro through on goal.
Vitolo makes plays out wide but is becoming an effective quasi-playmaker in a central area, like when he made a Rakitic-type pass to Jairo against Osasuna.
|League Only||Total Chances Created %|
An underrated characteristic of Vitolo's game is his defensive contributions.
|League Only||Tackles||Interceptions||Fouls Conceded|
Vitolo, whose primary job is to score and create goals, is in the ballpark in terms of total defensive output this season with Fellaini, Carrick, Jones and Cleverley, all players who are more defensive than attacking.
While Vitolo conjured up an elegant finish against Espanyol, there was also a woeful shanked shot right in front of goal against Real Betis.
Vitolo's shooting is inconsistent.
|League Only||Goals||Shots Per Goal|
Robin van Persie
Vitolo taking 10.3 shots per goal is inefficient and explains why he just converts 13.6 percent of goal scoring opportunities, per Squawka.com.
Another concern in signing Vitolo is Sevilla's tendency to inflate transfer deals.
Sevilla managed to sell Luis Alberto, who played a meagre seven La Liga games, to Liverpool for £6.8 million/€8.2 million, per BBC Sport, so how much will they hold out for Vitolo? Twenty million? Is he worth that amount?
Like former Las Palmas players centre-back Jeison Murillo (Granada) and left-attacking midfielder/central attacking midfielder Jonathan Viera (Valencia; Rayo Vallecano loanee) and Rondon (Zenit), Vitolo possesses elite upside.
Vitolo has what it takes to make a successful transition to the Premier League: He is athletic, he can play across midfield, is an incisive passer and works hard off the ball.
Vitolo is an all-round footballer, who United should consider signing in the summer transfer window as an alternative to Koke.
Statistics via WhoScored.com