Barcelona signed Jeison Murillo on loan from Valencia until the end of the season.
With Samuel Umtiti nursing a knee injury and Thomas Vermaelen sidelined for one month, the Catalan club have found a solution to their centre-back crisis with the acquisition of the Colombian international.
Here, we take a closer look at the 26-year-old.
Name: Jeison Murillo
Notable past clubs: Inter, Valencia
La Liga 2017-18 Stats
Appearances (as a substitute): 15 (2)
Tackles per game: 1.8
Interceptions per game: 1.7
Clearances per game: 4.9
Blocks per game: 0.5
Murillo is comfortable playing in a high defensive line, which should allow him to fit into Barcelona’s system seamlessly. The former Inter man is skilled, athletic and capable of covering the space he leaves behind while playing a high line.
The Cali native might not be as skilled a ball-playing centre-back like Gerard Pique or Umtiti, but he is comfortable with the ball at his feet and will get accustomed to the Barcelona style of play in no time.
Producing a threat in the opposition’s box is yet another arrow in his quiver. The defender can attack set-pieces and doesn’t shy away from throwing in a couple of acrobatic efforts.
Murillo was involved in just one game in La Liga this campaign and getting Cristiano Ronaldo sent off in Valencia’s Champions League tie is probably the highlight of his season to date.
The player’s apparent fall-out with coach Marcelino has caused him to warm the bench at Valencia. At least Barcelona fans can breathe a sigh of relief that his omission from the last five matchday squad has nothing to do with his performance.
However, Murillo will not be match fit when he arrives at the Camp Nou, having played so little over the past three months. This is something that could force Ernesto Valverde to select Barcelona B player Chumi until Murillo gets some running into his legs.
The defender is also prone to mistakes that can lead to goal, but he can use his pace to rectify these errors. The Colombian must also work on his press-resistance in order to get accustomed to the Barcelona style of play.
Murillo was a victim of limited playing time at Valencia this term after a successful debut season with the Spanish club where he played a major role in their top-four finish. Desperate for a short-term central defensive option, Barcelona and Murillo seem to be a perfect match for each other and the risks involved are extremely less.
With Umtiti set to miss the remainder of the season due to a knee surgery and Vermaelen being a victim of constant injuries, Murillo will have a key role this season as Barcelona challenge for all three trophies. It is unlikely the 26-year-old will replace Clement Lenglet from the starting line-up and should function as a third-choice centre-back.
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