Barcelona’s young full-back Martin Montoya is being courted by Arsenal, Liverpool and Inter Milan among many others, but given he’s been unable to displace Daniel Alves, just how good is the Spaniard with a €20m release clause?
The Daily Express suggests Montoya’s Camp Nou deal will expire at the end of this season, but despite the fact he is widely believed to be the future of the right-back position at Barca, talks regarding an extension have yet to begin.
As a result Arsenal and Liverpool – 4/5 and 7/5 for a top-four finish this term respectively – have emerged as potential suitors for the Spanish Under-21 star.
Montoya first represented Barca in the 2009/10 campaign, but after shuttling back and forth between the first team and Barcelona B during 2010/11, he graduated to full-time first teamer status in 2012/13.
He’d signed off the previous campaign with an assured showing in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey final victory over Athletic Bilbao and was expected to vie with Alves for the right-back jersey last season.
However, despite initially usurping Alves at the beginning of the last campaign he was eventually put in his place by the Brazilian as the season wore on and has yet to feature in La Liga under new manager Gerardo Martino.
So how good can he be?
His spell in the first team last term – which included a nine-game run between October and September – showcased a young player arguably more defensively sound than his Brazilian rival.
Nonetheless, his technical and physical abilities are vast and he’s equally capable of blistering runs to the byline as he is at playing the stopper full-back to a more gung-ho colleague on the other flank.
A consummate professional, he has filled adeptly on the left side for the first team when required, adding positional versatility to his potent list of attributes.
Furthermore he has that knack available to a select group of wide defenders such as Nigel Winterburn or Glen Johnson of scoring from distance, as his superbly-controlled 25-yard cracker against Malaga last season showed.