Southampton secure services of Malaga and Spain starlet Juanmi
Southampton struggled somewhat to continue their clinical eye for goal towards the end of the Premier League season this year, having made a blistering start, but the Saints have now signed signing Malaga’s Juanmi on a four-year deal.
The 22-year-old Spanish starlet has been extremely impressive this campaign in La Liga, netting eight goals; including strikes at both the Bernabeu and Nou Camp, with the latter being a winner for Malaga in a 1-0 triumph in February.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) June 16, 2015
“Since I was very young, it’s always been a dream for me to play in the Premier League,” said Juanmi. “The style of football played here is similar to the way I play.”
Saints head of football development Les Reed added: “Juanmi is a young, exciting and attacking player who fits into our strategic plan perfectly.”
Ronald Koeman, if he remains in charge at St Mary’s, will benefit massively from a superbly versatile forward in Juanmi, with the promising attacker easily capable of playing across all forward positions, but especially relishes featuring in the number 10 role behind an out-an-out frontman.
Juanmi was handed his maiden Spain international cap earlier this year by La Roja boss Vicente del Bosque, as he featured form the start against the Netherlands in a friendly encounter at the Amsterdam ArenA (6/1 with Coral to win Euro 2016).
The talented Malaga menace has plenty of international experience at Under-19 level too, having won two consecutive UEFA European Championships, striking two goals in the 2011 competition in Romania, before the senior side eventually came calling.
It could be argued that Southampton don’t currently possess a recognised number 10 at the south coast club, with Sadio Mane, Dusan Tadic, Shane Long and Filip Djuricic having all regularly switched across various roles in attack during the previous term.
However, if deployed in that key creative position, Juanmi could potentially link-up with Italian hitman Graziano Pelle to deadly effect, with the frontman starting the past campaign in clinical form, before gradually stumbling towards the latter stages of the run-in.
Juanmi is a product of Malaga’s youth system, and became the Spanish top-flight club’s youngest ever goalscorer in 2010 when he managed to strike in a La Liga clash aged just 16, proving his potential was already evident at such a tender age.
The youngster enjoyed a brief loan stint at Racing Santander in 2013 but has gone on to make 43 league starts for his current employers, netting 18 times, which is all the more impressive considering he hasn’t been utilised as a proper striker on a regular basis.
A £5.1m fee is quite a modest deal in this current climate of the transfer window, but this is possibly due to Malaga’s recent financial difficulties, which have in fact eased lately.
Over the past two summers, the Saints have acquired the likes of Victor Wanayama, Pablo Osvaldo, Fraser Forster and Republic of Ireland international Long, with Juanmi becoming the latest talented transfer coup arriving at St Mary’s (12/1 for a top four finish 2015/16).