Southampton are plotting a surprise move for Colombia international Juan Quintero, and aim to pip both Manchester United and Arsenal to his signature, according to reports.
The Daily Express today claim that Ronald Koeman has identified the Porto star as his priority target for the winter transfer window, and will look to spend an impressive £32 million on activating the release clause his club solidified when they spent £3.5 million on purchasing the other half of his registration from third party owners recently.
Naturally Koeman’s plans will put him at odds with the likes of Louis van Gaal and Arsene Wenger, both of whom are said to have an interest in landing Quintero themselves.
Though the Saints’ coffers were replenished by the summer exodus that saw the likes of Rickie Lambert Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Luke Shaw leave the club, £32 million would represent a club record, and it may take some convincing for Koeman to get the board to consent to the bid.
Nevertheless Quintero has genuine pedigree, and his tender years - he’s only 21 - mean that he’s got plenty of time to adapt to the pace of the Premier League.
Having featured at this summer’s World Cup alongside the likes of Juan Cuadrado and Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez, the attacking midfielder can boast experience to match his potential, and although more distinguished players than he have flopped after arriving from overseas with healthy reputations, he could well be worth the risk.
However, with his release clause standing as it does Porto are under no obligation to entertain any offers under the £32 million mark, meaning Koeman will have to be absolutely certain of his estimations to avoid embarrassment if Quintero finds English football too hard to get to grips with.
As for the likes of United and Arsenal, moving to other targets may not be too difficult, particularly given their respective reputations amongst England’s elite. Van Gaal is known to be in the market for defensive cover as a priority anyway, whilst Wenger will lose little sleep over missing out on a player who he’s only been fleetingly linked with.