It is no secret that the summer transfer window has been a frustrating one for supporters (and managers) of Newcastle United, but for the moment it appears that we will be getting a reprieve from the endless cycle of baseless rumors leading to no new bodies. In addition to Jacob Murphy’s transfer from Norwich, multiple sources are reporting that Atlético Madrid fullback Javier Manquillo has made the journey to United’s summer training grounds in Ireland for a medical ahead of a move Tyneside. The deal is reported to be a permanent one, with a £4.5 million fee having been agreed.
Manquillo, 23, made his senior debut for Madrid in 2011 but has only made six appearances for his parent club, spending the past three seasons on loan at Liverpool, Marseille and, most recently, Sunderland, where he played 20 league games (15 starts). In his time at Sunderland, Manquillo played all along the defensive wings, making six starts each at left back and right back of a four-man back line, while pitching in three starts as a wingback of a 3-5-2. While at Marseille, Manquillo made 31 starts at right back and was statistically one of the better performers during an otherwise disappointing season for the side, registering a higher WhoScored rating on the year than his then-teammate and our old pal Rémy Cabella.
Stylistically, Manquillo is defensively solid and an able passer, but doesn’t look comfortable making too many runs from the back to join in the attack. In terms of where Manquillo fits in the side, it’s unlikely that he unseats Yedlin on the right but could challenge Paul Dummett’s spot on the left, and his proven versatility indicates that he would be able to fill in for either should the need arise, a fact that doesn’t bode particularly well for Lazaar, Gámez or Haïdara. Even if he is never able to break into the first team on a regular basis, £4.5 million for depth at a position where Newcastle has had poor injury luck in the past is an excellent price in today’s transfer market.