Friday 15 December 2017

Liverpool sign Manquillo on two-year deal

Brendan Rodgers will bring Javier Manquillo to Anfield
Brendan Rodgers will bring Javier Manquillo to Anfield

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool have agreed the loan signing of Spanish full-back Javier Manquillo from Atletico Madrid.

Manquillo will move to Anfield for a two-year loan period pending a medical on Monday, although they have the option to make the deal permanent or, indeed, cancel the arrangement at the end of this season.

There are several clauses in Manquillo’s contract, which may see his eventual fee rise depending on how successful he is during his loan spell.

Manquillo, 20, is one of two full-backs Brendan Rodgers was hoping to sign over the next few days. Liverpool are still negotiating with Sevilla for Alberto Moreno but are close to finalising his price.

Talks over Moreno have effectively been ongoing since May, the fee for the 21-year-old proving prohibitive, but Liverpool are increasingly confident that will be resolved.

Rodgers’s determination to recruit two full-backs raises long-term doubts about some senior defenders in the Liverpool squad, such as Glen Johnson and José Enrique. Johnson, one of the club’s biggest earners, has entered the final year of his contract and there has been an impasse for some time over fresh terms.

Liverpool have made it clear from the outset they could not value Johnson’s salary on the same level as his previous deals but would welcome fresh talks. There have also been some issues over the image rights of the England full-back, who was linked with several big money moves abroad at the end of last season.

Johnson is most likely to remain at Anfield for this campaign, but there will be some understandable concerns his future will be a distraction as the season progresses as he considers his options for a lucrative Bosman move in the summer of 2015. There are sure to be clubs in Italy, Spain or even the USA who will pay Johnson more than Liverpool.

Naturally, Rodgers wants as much competition at right back as possible in the season ahead. With Jon Flanagan breaking through last season, the addition of Manquillo should provide that.

Enrique will also find himself readjusting to life as a deputy once Moreno is signed for a fee likely to be of around £16 million.

The former Newcastle defender missed most of last season with injury and will also find himself fighting with Flanagan for a first team place.

Moreno, should the deal be concluded as anticipated, will become the preferred left back.

Liverpool are still waiting for bids for other squad members who are available for transfer, but as yet there has been no approach for the likes of Pepe Reina or Lucas Leiva.

Liverpool faced AC Milan in Charlotte on Saturday evening. Despite some glowing pre-match words about Milan’s ex-Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, Rodgers has no interest in signing the striker.

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