FC Barcelona completed the signing of Colombian international Jeison Murillo from Valencia CF on a six-month loan deal. The agreement includes a purchase option worth €25 million.
Barcelona was in dire need of a center back. Vermaelen is out for a month. Given his history with injuries, the team can’t rely on him. Umtiti is also out for an unspecified amount of time, so this is an excellent signing to plug the injury crises.
Why is this a risk-free move?
He is coming over to Catalan side on a six months loan deal. If he does not perform well, Barcelona can send him back, but if he put up a decent performance, purchase option in the clause means that Barcelona can sign him on a permanent deal. It’s a win-win situation for FC Barcelona.
Barcelona has plans to bring Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax in summer as a future replacement plan for an ageing Pique. This six months loan deal indicates that Barca has their eyes set on De Ligt otherwise they would have gone for some established, young and more experienced center back.
In Spanish La Liga there’s a rule which states that each club can have up to 3 non-EU players. Barcelona already has all the EU spots taken up. Murillo has an EU citizenship so his registration won’t cause any problems.
In short, it is a total risk-free move which is beneficial for all the parties involved.
Jeison Murillo is a 26-year old center-back that has an abundance of experience in La Liga and the Champions Leauge. He has played for top clubs like Inter Milan.
He started his career in Europe with Italian club Udinese.
He has spent more than six years in La Liga. He is well aware of the competition. Therefore, he won’t meet many challenges in adapting and connecting with the squad.
He was also a key player of the Colombian national team that finished third in the Copa America.He was one of the best players in the tournament.
In short, he got all the experience to play at a big club like FC Barcelona.
Strength and Tactical Analysis
Let’s analyze his last season with Valencia. Despite having only 17 appearances to his name, he was one of the best center backs in Valencia team.
He was their third best player in defense after Jose Gaya and Martin Montoya.
The stats clearly show his defensive abilities. He was not a regular starter, but even after that, he is neck to neck in all the defensive compartments when compared to Gaya and Montoya.
The Marcelino situation happened out of nowhere. Murillo just suddenly fell out of favour, but at no point did his level drop. Injuries, general lack of fitness crept in and things never picked up again.
— David Cartlidge (@davidjaca) December 19, 2018
He is good with the ball. He is mentally very strong. He can make accurate passes and deliver long crosses.
He got speed and deadly tackling abilities. He is a fearful player who does not shy making risky tackles in the box.
Barcelona usually play with a high defensive line. He is not used to that at Valencia. The positive point to note is that he can play high up to the pitch and break the opposition’s run of play.
As you can see in the image above, he is comfortable coming out of the defensive unit which is lying very low and make the necessary interception to stop the opposition wingers.
It suggests that he can play high up the line which is the desired quality in a Barcelona defender.
Summarizing, given the current injury situation he is a useful addition to FC Barcelona. He cost only 25 million which is not going to hurt Barcelona even if it does not pan out as planned.