Pitchside

Why Arsenal should sign Juan Quintero – the new James Rodriguez

Pitchside

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It's already been a productive summer at the Emirates.

Arsene Wenger managed to fend off Liverpool to bring Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal, while also improving their defence by bringing in Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers.

Ultimately, Wenger’s efforts are in view of re-establishing Arsenal among the serious contenders for the Premier League title and, to do so, most fans are calling out for a holding midfielder to be drafted in to complete the Gunners' puzzle.

However while this requirement has even been echoed by the manager himself, next on the list appears to be another attacking midfielder, with Juan Fernando Quintero reportedly close so joining Arsenal.

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The 21-year-old playmaker is currently plying his trade in Portugal with FC Porto, like many fellow Colombians over the past few years, and with a number of esteemed experts on the game tipping him for big things, this surprise rumour packs a lot of promise.

And so, Squawka has taken a look at Quintero to see whether he can be another string to Arsenal bow's going into the new season in which Wenger will be targeting domestic glory.

Where Does He Play?

Quintero is the quintessential number-ten style of attacking midfielder, far more happy when joining in with the attack than he is going towards his own goal, with his ability to create and destroy a notable asset.

Quintero drew four fouls and beat his man four times from six attempts in the Europa League last season.

The Porto star likes to operate in the pockets just behind the striker where he can either assist or score himself through his formidable shot. His playing style, in fact, is very similar to compatriot James Rodriguez, though his diminutive stature draws more comparisons to Lionel Messi.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Quintero's big strengths are in the attacking third of the pitch, with the Colombian player boasting a fearsome shot as well as possessing the intelligence and diligence around the box to be a creator as well as a goalscorer, having netted four goals in 17 league appearances last season, including only four starts.

He is yet to become an established regular in the Colombia first team due to the presence of Rodriguez but in his three appearances for national side at the World Cup, he opened up his account on the world stage. Netting in his first appearance at the tournament, Quintero scored what proved to be a crucial winner against Ivory Coast in the group stages.

Again, he is yet to truly stamp his mark on the Porto first team and was used primarily as a substitute in European competition, though the Medellin-born attacker managed to create five chances during 94 minutes of action overall. It is, perhaps, his movement that stands out most, as his reading of the game allows Quintero to glide into pockets of space.

His versatility will also appeal to Arsene Wenger, as he can play anywhere across the attacking three of the Arsenal midfield, just as comfortable working as an inside forward as a central playmaker.

Where would he fit in to Arsenal's system?

Arsenal seem well stocked in terms of offensive midfielders, so there is a suggestion that Wenger sees one or both of Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott primarily as a centre-forward going into the new season, freeing up an extra position in the offensive section of his midfield for an additional recruit.

With Santi Cazorla continually linked with a return to Spain and a move to Atletico Madrid, Arsenal could have a further position opening up and one would feel the pace in which Quintero both thinks and reacts would probably see him slot in well to the Gunners' style of play, even if it begins as more of a bit-part role.

His lack of first-team starts with Porto would mean he would hardly expect to be a guaranteed starter at Arsenal. However, as an impact sub against tired legs Quintero could prove a wonderful player to introduce, with the potential to quickly integrate him into the starting XI.

Stand-out Stat

Over three games of Champions League football, Juan Fernando Quintero completed 91% of his passes.

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Quintero’s Champions League pass success, 2013/14

Cost

Porto only signed him from Pescara last summer and had a €40m (£32m) release clause inserted into his contract. Yet, with Quintero yet to establish himself as a regular in his team, he's hardly an irreplaceable member of the team.

Due to the promise shown by Quintero, Porto insist they will not let him go for anything less, however.

Arsenal are apparently willing to stump up £15-20m to land him, though whether that should be enough is debatable.

Verdict

If Arsenal are set to let Cazorla go in the wake of the business they've done already, they could do far worse than to spend the proceeds of that sale on bringing in Quintero to replace him. The Colombian would prove a good addition in that he offers something a bit different.

Arsenal have often been guilty of overplaying things at times and Quintero would be an excellent addition to bring on should plan A fail to function perfectly, as his forward looking nature would prove crucial in getting them over the line in those tighter games.

He's still raw and learning the game, but with the potential he possesses, Quintero could be worth double the amount they pay for him within two years, and a move for him now would be perfect timing.

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