Scouting Arsenal And Liverpool Target Juan Quintero – ‘The Quintessential Modern Playmaker’

Fernando Quintero
Fernando Quintero

FC Porto seem to have a knack of picking up promising Colombian prospects for next to nothing, developing them and then moving them for huge profits. The latest in the production line that has seen the likes of Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez come through is Juan Quintero. The 21-year-old Colombian playmaker is next in line to succeed Rodriguez as the poster-boy of Colombian football. Many have already likened him to none other Lionel Messi, but the question is, is he really that good? Is Quintero really the next big thing to come out of Colombia? Will he live up to his predecessors at Porto?

Career history

Born in Medellin, Colomba in 1993, Juan Fernando Quintero Paniagua, or simply Juan Quintero, began his footballing career at Envigado in 2004. The attacking midfielder spent 4 years with the Colombian club’s youth team, before making it into the first-team aged just 15. Even before he turned 18, Quintero had already made 40 appearances for the club’s first-team. In 2011, he moved to Colombian giants Atletico Nacional. But after just one season, his performance earned him a move to Europe.

Quintero joined Serie A side Pescara in the summer of 2012 and although he impressed, injuries kept him from truly breaking out. But, it was too long before Portuguese giants Porto came calling and the Colombian was duly sold a year later. His international career came to life when he won the MVP award in the South American Under-20 Championship in January 2013. Although he didn’t take part in the 2013 Toulon tournament, he received rave reviews for his performance in the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey, where he won the goal of the tournament award. He made his senior debut in 2012 and already has six caps and a World Cup goal to his credit.

Style of Play

Although he is primarily deployed as a playmaker, Quintero is adept at playing as any one of the front three. Quintero’s ability to not just hold onto the ball, but distribute it effectively make him the quintessential modern playmaker. Predominantly left-footed, Quintero is considered James Rodriguez’s successor at Porto and the 21-year-old has even taken over the Number 10 jersey from Rodriguez, once he left. His ball control and dribbling help him get out of a tight spot with consummate ease and while he might not have the searing pace of a Cristiano Ronaldo, he has the balletic balance of a Lionel Messi and in a way combines Messi’s mesmeric dribbles with Ronaldo’s powerful shot.

Strengths

Quintero’s biggest strength is his dribbling. His low center of gravity means that he has the balance and poise to glide past players as if they weren’t there. While he isn’t particularly quick over long distances, Quintero possesses the acceleration required to burst past his man. His slightly stocky build also means that he is difficult to shrug off the ball and his ability to keep the ball glued to his feet is something that has led to him being likened to a certain Lionel Messi.

While Quintero’s balletic balance isn’t anything unique, what is though, is his ability to combine his exceptional dribbling with a prodigious passing range. The 21-year-old has the vision of a player well beyond his years and his ability to pick out a precise pass to his team-mate is something that separates him from his contemporaries. The ease with which he can convert defence into attack is simply stunning and he is more than handy at set-pieces whether it is converting directly on goal or picking out a team-mate with a penetrative cross.

Weaknesses

Although Quintero doesn’t really have any flaws in his game, if there is one thing he desperately needs to work on, is his fitness. Still just 21, Quintero has already missed a considerable chunk of time as a result of injuries. With Envigado, a broken tibia meant that he missed the second half of the 2010/11 season. With Pescara, he was out for 10 games with various injuries and for Porto as well he was out for a couple of months as a result of a hamstring injury. If Quintero wants to become one of the finest playmakers in the world, he needs to stay fit. Unless he does, he will just be another one of the precociously gifted players who couldn’t quite deliver.

Possible destinations

Quintero wasn’t supposed to play any part at all in the World Cup, but he did and since then the amount of clubs interested in has only become greater. Arsenal are currently favorites to secure his signature for a fee of around €40m, although another English club Liverpool have also shown interest in him, in the not-too distant past. One thing is for sure, given their previous history, it won’t be too long before Porto decide to cash in on their superstar. And when they do, it is going to take a massive offer to take Quintero away from Porto.

Verdict

Incisive, precise and progressive with both his passing and his dribbling, there is no doubt that Quintero is the next attacking sensation to come out of Colombia. The 21-year-old has the talent, technique and even the application to make it as one of the finest play-makers of his generation. All he has to do is ensure that he stays and continue his current pursuit of perfection and that is sure to take him places.

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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