Sunderland are finally set to add to their depleted squad in a position that was glaringly weak against Middlesbrough. Javier Manquillo is reportedly close to sealing a loan move to the Stadium of Light.
Donald Love had a bit of a nightmare against Boro all things considered. Luckily, he has plenty of time left to gain some more positional nous and composure in possession, so it is not time to write off the former Manchester United man just yet. For now though, he is a liability and the pending arrival of Atletico Madrid's Manquillo will be a welcome one.
The Spaniard has already had a stint in the Premier League, though it was not a successful one. A two year loan to Liverpool was prematurely ended by Atletico with the player failing to make the grade at Anfield. He was just 20 at the time of the move, making 19 appearances in total, only ten of which were in the league. His fondest memory is likely to be winning a penalty in the dying moments against Ludogrets, leading Liverpool to their only victory of that Champions League campaign.
Last season Manquillo had a much more successful loan spell at Marseille. The French side were reportedly interested in a further loan deal, though Atletico were aware of the player interesting clubs in the Premier League and playing hard ball with a new loan deal - which presumably means asking for a higher loan fee.
Interestingly that despite it being widely reported Manquillo failed at Liverpool, the general reaction to his exit from supporters was that he deserved more playing time - particularly ahead of the disastrous Glen Johnson. Here are a few snippets from social media reacting to his loan to Marseille;
"Good loan for Manquillo, class player. If he held an English passport, I doubt we'd have bought Clyne tbh. #underrated"
"Pity Manquillo didn't work out Rodgers constantly picking Johnson I wish him well for the future no doubt we will BR will regret this"
"Everytime Rodgers started Glen Johnson and benched Manquillo my heart literally ached"
"Manquillo off to Marseille on loan. Good move for him. Don't think Rodgers gave the kid a fair shake. #LFC"
During his loan spell with Marseille, Italian giants Juventus were credited with an interest, looking at the right back as a replacement for the aging Stephan Lichtsteiner. One report in the Sun suggested in March that Madrid were seeking £30 million in light of Juventus' interest.
If Sunderland seal the deal it will be a season-long loan. Whether that is because Madrid are unwilling to sanction a permanent sale, or have slapped an unrealistic price tag on the Spaniard's head, or indeed that Sunderland don't want to take a risk on Manquillo is up for discussion. After the 2016/17 season he will enter the final year of his contract in Spain and a successful season in the Premier League will no doubt open many doors.
It has all the makings of Marcos Alonso number two and, if it happens, I suspect we will be very impressed with our business come May. Then of course we will fail to make the transfer permanent as we always do.