Javier Manquillo spotted in Liverpool ahead of transfer

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Liverpool are closing in on the signing of Arsenal target Javier Manquillo after the Atletico Madrid full-back was pictured at John Lennon airport on Monday evening.

The Daily Express reports how the 20-year-old defender is set to pen a two-year loan deal with the Merseyside club, with the option of making the move permanent for a reported £5 million fee.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has been on the lookout for defensive reinforcements at Anfield, and having already completed the £20 million capture of Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren from Southampton, now looks to have landed a player to challenge Glen Johnson for a place on the right side of Liverpool's defence.

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Manquillo was previously linked with a switch to Arsenal, but the Spaniard is understood to have turned down the opportunity to move to the Emirates Stadium following the signing of Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle United.

First-team assurances

The La Liga starlet endured a frustrating campaign at the Vicente Calderon in 2013/14 and wanted guarantees from Arsene Wenger that he would be afforded regular action in north London.

Wenger was unable to offer him such assurances, and it quickly became clear that Manquillo would consider other options, prompting Arsenal to splash up to £16 million on another Southampton player Calum Chambers.

Arsenal cover

The versatile teenager caught the Frenchman's eye last season, and his ability to play at right-back, centre-back and in a more advanced midfield position convinced the Gunners boss to pay a significant fee.

Manquillo is expected to undergo a medical with Liverpool today (Tuesday), and is expected to be formally unveiled as the club's seventh summer signing this week, following the prior captures of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Divock Origi and Lovren.

Competition for places

Jon Flanagan will provide additional cover for the Reds at right full-back, but the former Atletico Madrid man is expected to go straight into contention for a first-team role by the start of the season.

Johnson has been the subject of heavy criticism from Liverpool supporters for quite some time, and is regarded by many as the weak link in Rodgers's back line ahead of the new campaign.

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