Liverpool scouts were impressed by Colombian defender Kevin Mantilla during the recent South American U20 Championship.
Mantilla emerged at Santa Fe last year, becoming a first team regular at just eighteen. Now nineteen, the centre-back was one of his country’s star performers during this month’s tournament in his homeland.
And now as per Tuttomercatoweb, his displays could well earn him a move to Europe. The Italian outlet claim that ‘top’ teams from Greece and Portugal are already circling the youngster. Furthermore, Torino are said to be working quickly to fend off the competition.
And then there’s Liverpool. The Reds have reportedly in fact been keeping tabs on Mantilla for ‘some time.’ The recent championships appear to have sealed the deal though, with Liverpool claimed to have had ‘only positive reports’ of the defender.
There is a catch, though. Unfortunately, it’s claimed that Brexit rules make it complicated for Mantilla to move to the Premier League. The 19-year-old reportedly doesn’t have the score needed to make the jump from Colombia.
Liverpool getting wise to South American gems
We love the idea of Liverpool actively dipping into the South American market. Some of their Premier League rivals have had great success in doing so, it’s time they did the same.
The only issue here appears to be the rules relating to Brexit. But if Chelsea can sign 18-year-old Andrey Santos direct from Vasco da Gama, why can’t Liverpool sign Mantilla?
Despite his now raised profile, the defender would surely come on the cheap. Although he’d be raw and perhaps not ready for the Reds immediately, he can be developed into an option for the future. As Liverpool prepare for life beyond Joel Matip, Mantilla could be given time to bed in gently.
It certainly beats letting talent from the continent heading to Portugal and then signing them for £50m-£60m two or three years down the line.
It’s clear that there is so much potential in young players from South America. Liverpool can save themselves millions by getting wise to the process of bringing them in.
Certainly, had they taken a gamble on the likes of Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez earlier, they’d have saved a killing. As they begin a pursuit of another gem from Colombia, maybe Diaz’s presence can just sway Mantilla enough to reject other advances.
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