Ronald Koeman has taken the first steps of adding depth to a Southampton squad that will have the Europa League’s extra workload to contend with next season, by meeting the buyout clause of Malaga’s young forward Juanmi.
Having lodged the required bid to secure his services, Saints look to be all but an agreed wage away from landing their man, but despite making his international debut for Spain this season, the 22-year-old isn’t widely renowned outside of his homeland.
With the handy aid of football scouts, however, the south coast club will be well aware of what the youngster will provide at St Mary’s, all that’s left is for news.ladbrokes to fill the wider footballing community in on the 411:
The Coin native is a forward that prefers to operate in behind the main striker, or between the lines of the opposition defence. As is customary for such a player, Juanmi has a burst of pace suited to his slight frame and is equally comfortable coming off the wing as he is in the centre of the field.
Although he operates in the forward line, the Spaniard is far from prolific. He scored just eight times in 34 La Liga appearances this season, which doubled his best career effort, but is still developing his eye for goal.
His maturity and ability to handle pressure was in evidence this season when he scored the only goal of the game at the Camp Nou in February to hand Barcelona their last La Liga defeat, while he also netted in a defeat to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, a game in which he was named captain.
A regular in the Spanish U19 side, for whom he received 20 caps and scored eight goals, Juanmi made the step up to the national side for a friendly against Holland this season.
However, Vicente del Bosque used him as a false nine and the youngster struggled as a result. Perhaps somewhat harshly, that performance has seen the diminutive forward fall out of favour with La Roja, but Koeman can learn a valuable lesson about how to use his new recruit in future.
The 22-year-old will join Sadio Mane, James Ward-Prowse, Eljero Elia and Dusan Tadic in the attacking midfield ranks for a club that are rated at 12/1 to finish in the top four next season.
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