Javier Manquillo’s time at Liverpool started off promisingly enough, with a series of strong performances in the autumn setting him out as one of the few bright spots for the club during what was generally a very dark stretch. It didn’t last, though, and with Manquillo not offering enough on the attacking side, he quickly fell out of favour with manage Brendan Rodgers.
He still has a year remaining on his convoluted loan deal from Atletico Madrid, but reports out of Portugal say that loan deal could now be cut short, with Benfica having made Manquillo their top choice to replace departing Maxi Pereira. For that deal to go through, Atletico would have to trigger a recall clause for an as yet unreported fee before selling him on to the Portuguese side.
Manquillo’s two-year loan deal was set up such that if Atletico wanted to recall the player after the first season they could—for a fee. At the end of the loan—and only at the end of it—Liverpool could buy him outright for a fee believed to be around £7M. If Liverpool did buy him after his two-year loan spell, Atletico would have the option of having a buyback clause attached to the deal.
If the Portuguese reports are true, it means Manquillo may never get past that first hurdle in a deal many on the outside continue to struggle to wrap their heads around. And if Benfica want him—and if they’re willing to offer Atletic enough to make it worth their while to pay the loan termination fee—Liverpool will in the end have no say in whether Manqiullo stays or goes.
Despite being largely out of favour at Liverpool, Manquillo made 19 appearances in all competitions for the Reds last season. With Jon Flanagan expected back from injury and the likely arrival of Nathaniel Clyne in the coming weeks, though, Manquillo could be hard pressed to see a lot more than that in 2015-16 if he does remain at Anfield.