At just 21-years-old Koke has steered Atletico Madrid to a remarkable eight wins from eight this season…
Manchester United will now challenge Liverpool and Barcelona for Atletico Madrid’s 21-year-old midfielder Koke, reports the Daily Star.
Although no offer has been made, the 21-year-old reportedly has a £16m release-clause in his contract, which a host of European clubs will be prepared to pay in January.
Let’s take a closer look at the prodigal young midfielder…
Koke has nearly all the natural attributes a team would want its attacking midfielder to posses.
His passing, both short and long, is exceptional; and he has the ability to get to the byline and deliver telling crosses for onrushing strikers. Koke’s technical ability also enables him to hold on to the ball in tight areas, and he is not afraid of receiving possession when in a difficult situation (which has become a trademark of Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta).
His set-pieces are also strong, but most surprisingly perhaps, he is not a defensive liability. For all his prodigal talent in the final third, Koke will snap at the opposition when they have the ball, and close them down quickly in midfield.
Last season, aged just 20, Koke scored three league goals and assisted nine. This term though he’s almost matched those stats already, bagging two and assisting six. In fact, no player in Europe has assisted more goals this season.
Instead of relentlessly keeping the ball like some his Spanish midfield counterparts, Koke prefers to directly effect games with forward passes. As a result, he averages only 38 passes per game, but more importantly, he has already made 22 key passes in the final third.
He’s made all three of the through-balls he’s attempted this season, and 14 of the 16 long balls.
The youngster can essentially play in a number of attacking midfield positions. This season, he has predominantly started from the left, given a licence to roam infield and link up with Atletico’s other attackers: Diego Costa and Arda Turan.
In the long run though, Koke looks like he will be more suited to the pivotal no.10 position. From here, he can directly effect matches more easily, and become the creative hub of his side.
One of the biggest myths in football is that players need to be big and strong to cope with the Premier League. This simply isn’t the case anymore. Players like David Silva, Juan Mata, Coutinho and Mesut Ozil prove that sheer talent trumps physical strength every time.
While Koke is small, his talent overrides this; and the speed of the Premier League actually benefits him. He can make quick footballing decisions in the final third, and could well follow Coutinho’s example. The Brazilian struggled at times in the slow Italian league, but thrives in the quick, exciting Premier League.
Check out the little magician in action!
All stats courtesy of Whoscored.