German newspaper Bild (via Daily Mirror) have reported that Liverpool are ready to take Barcelona full-back Martin Montoya. The Spanish right-back is out-of-contract in the summer, and can therefore sign a pre-contract agreement at Anfield in January. Montoya is said to be frustrated at a lack of first-team football at Barcelona, and feels that the chances of dislodging Dani Alves in the side are remote. A host of top clubs have been rumoured with the full back in recent months, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Borrusia Dortmund. The 22-year-old has two international caps for Spain, and has made 25 appearances since his debut in 2011.
A move to Liverpool would seem a slightly odd fit for a player frustrated in the reserves, given Glen Johnson’s status as first-choice right-back at Anfield. However, Montoya can also play left-back, and would arrive with the time and potential to become a leading full-back.
As is to be expected from a Barcelona full-back, Montoya is accomplished going forward. Against Malaga in the final game of last season, he scored a crisp half volley; from range into the far corner. His action areas map from the same game shows that he touched the ball more in the opposing half than in his own half.
Last season he successfully made 91% of his passes – a figure impressive even for a Barca player (the team average was 89%). In comparison, Glen Johnson completed 82% of his passes and Jose Enrique 76%, although it should be noted that Liverpool’s average pass success was lower than Barcelona’s at 81%.
Montoya managed to eclipse team mate Dani Alves in the number of take ons made. Both players successfully completed 15 take ons over the season, but Montoya managed to do so in almost half the time that Alves did. However, Alves outshone his team-mate in chances created, as Montoya only laid on a paltry two key passes over 15 games.
The Spanish full-back also excels defensively. In his one appearance this season – a 4-0 victory over Real Vallecano – Montoya made seven clearances. Amounting to 28% of his team’s total, this proved to be more than any other Barcelona player. A similar pattern emerged when looking at headed duels, as Montoya again eclipsed his team mates, winning four duels to make up 29% of the team’s total. Again using Alves as a point of reference, Montoya made 79% of the defensive actions Alves completed, but in 51% of the time.
Still only 22, Montoya has the potential to do well at Anfield, but is reaching the age where he is likely to need first-team football, in order to develop. In his 15 games for Barca last season he did well, but not exceptionally. He is likely to benefit from a move to a side where he may start more often. On a free transfer, and seemingly intent to leave Barcelona, whoever picks him up may well bag themselves a bargain.
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Topics: Martin Montoya