Every once in a while we get linked to a youngster I've not heard a ton about, and generally those more obscure links tend to have a little more basis in fact than most transfer rumors out there (despite this one claiming we were hot for Michael Emenalo). Recently we've seen some chatter that we're hot for several youngsters coming out of La Masia, and while I'd guess they are somewhat due to the fact that we recently added Romeu they also make some sense. The twitterverse currently has us scouting as many as a half a dozen fringe players at Barca, and while those reports may not be entirely accurate as to our targets, it seems likely that we at least have scouts watching La Masia with interest. One of those players that we've been linked to is right back Martin Montoya.
Montoya has flown under the mainstream radar a bit, as he was injured this summer and did not feature in the U20 world championships. He's currently plying his trade for the Barcelona B team, and while his quality is not in doubt at all he's fairly well blocked by the recently extended Dani Alves. He's been called up to the Spain U21 squad, and played the full 90 for them in their 6-0 destruction of Estonia yesterday, and has also recently been invited to camp with the senior national side. Beyond the fact that he plays an area where we lack some depth at the youth level, Montoya is slightly more attractive as he's out of contract come June. Barca is currently attempting to extend the youngster, but the presence of possibly the best right back in the world in front of him has been a major hindrance to this point. It seems that quite a few clubs are circling, waiting for their opportunity to pounce on a free transfer in January if Montoya doesn't extend.Montoya turned 20 this past April, so he'd be an interesting fit at Chelsea. He'd be considered a U21 until the start of the 2013/2014 season, so he'd be nice depth that doesn't take up a valuable roster slot immediately. Not many clubs of Chelsea's caliber can offer him the chance to compete for playing time the way we can, so it seems like we'd be a preferred destination if he does decide to leave Barca. He may also be somewhat more comfortable with former La Masia classmate (and U21 teammate) Oriol Romeu breaking into the first team here.
Montoya brings an interesting skillset to the table. Standing 5'9" tall, he's got a pretty typical build for a fullback. His pace and change of direction skills are adequate, but he's not noted for being exceptionally strong or great in the air. He's got exceptional stamina though, covering a good amount of ground up and down the right flank. He's also a very technically gifted player who's noted by most Barca followers for his excellent crossing skills and set piece taking. Here's a little look at Montoya for those who haven't seen him:
Here's one from Barca training...Montoya has been on the fringes of the matchday squad all season:
There really isn't too much more video available on him at the moment, but as he makes more appearances with the Barca first team and the U21's I'll make sure to file them away just in case. It's not often prospects like this are potentially available on a free transfer, but if he does reach January without an extension it would be fantastic business to see Emenalo pounce. For those of you who have been following the U21's this break, Montoya will likely feature again when Spain takes on Switzerland on the 14th. Oriol Romeu will also likely start if that's any further incentive to dig up a stream for the game. His situation will definitely be one to watch, as he seems to be an AVB type of player.