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Newcastle and River Plate players linked to Villarreal

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Unai Emery’s side linked to right sided players as injuries pile up.

FBL-ENG-PR-CRYSTAL PALACE-NEWCASTLE Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

We’re pretty good at what we do. All of us, not just the writers, but you lot in the comments as well. Last week we published this article on right sided players who could be a good fit for Villarreal. Two of the names from that article- one in the piece itself and one in the comments- are now linked to the club through other media.

EPM has reported that we are linked to Javier Manquillo from Newcastle and Gonzalo Montiel from River Plate in our search for a right sided player. I keep saying ‘right sided player’ because I believe the idea here is to have someone who backs up both positions on that side.

What I’m gonna do for us is share quick glance statistical profiles on each player that are adjusted to a La Liga standard. Using data from smarterscout.com , we’ll try to estimate what sort of player they would be in our leauge based on what they’ve done in their current league. Sample size caveats of course apply.

Manquillo

smarterscout.com

After leaving Atleti for England several years ago, Manquillo’s career has never quite been back on track since. Sample size is far and away my biggest concern here. He just doesn’t have enough minutes for me to know for sure what I’m looking at. I’m personally a little obsessive over ball retention numbers, and his aren’t great in any of the seasons I looked at in smarterscout’s data base. This might be a fine run of the mill backup move but don’t expect this to be too much of a gamechanger long term.

Gonzalo Montiel

smarterscout.com

Observant readers will notice that I went with Montiel’s 2019-2020 season. I did this primarily because the sample size was so much larger, if Manquillo above had played significantly more last season than he has this season I would have done the same thing. At first glance these numbers pop a lot more. Better ball retention, better in attack. Neither guy is outstanding in ground duels (which is almost too much like a right sided Pedraza), but we can live with that, particularly in Emery’s system where players almost never find themselves completely isolated defensively.

Concluding thoughts

I really like smarterscout’s algorithm’s that adjust these numbers for a benchmark league (La Liga in the case of both of these) but the larger the difference in quality between two leagues the more hesitant I am about them. To put that in context here, if I have a large enough sample size from England and Dan over at SS tells me that he’ll translate well, then the leagues are similar enough in quality that I am inclined to agree without raising too much of an eyebrow. Coming from Argentina, it’s a bigger step up in competition, and I think it would then be harder to model what that transition is going to look like.

Overall, the younger Montiel looks to be the better player, and if I had to choose between just these two options, he’s the one I would go with.