Liverpool are set to sign former Barcelona youngster Juanma after the defender impressed during a 10-day trial period at Anfield. He has sufficiently impressed the coaches at the Reds' Melwood training base and is set to receive a permanent deal.
The 19-year-old, whose real name is Juan Manuel Garcia Rey, came through the ranks at Barcelona and can play at either left-back or centre-back. Valencia were also interested in signing the defender, but the Reds have moved ahead and Jurgen Klopp is set to make him Liverpool's seventh summer signing.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Juanma is set to sign a deal in the coming days subject to a medical and is expected to join Michael Beale's U23 squad for the rest of the campaign. He is unlikely to be brought into the first-team for the upcoming campaign, despite the German coach looking to sign a left-back to provide competition for Alberto Moreno.
The former Barcelona defender, who has been at Anfield training with the U23 side, will join Spanish youth team members Pedro Chirivella and Madger Gomes, who are key players of the Reds' reserve side. Juanma played for the Liverpool U23 side during their friendly win over Welsh Premier League side Rhyl FC, following which the reserves manager Beale hinted that the club are hoping to see more of the defender, whom he likened to Manchester City full- back Pablo Zabaleta, post his trial period.
"Juanma is a boy who's come in to spend the week with us with a view to maybe seeing more of him. He's only had a couple of days training with us, speaks very little English but you can see a very good player," he told the Liverpool Echo.
"He was at Barcelona so we'll have a look and see how we go with him. He played with Madger Gomes and Pedro Chirivella with Spain so we're quite familiar with him."
"He's very versatile and can play in different positions because technically he's very good. I quite like him, he reminds he a little bit of someone like a Pablo Zabaleta-type player, a nice player," the Reds' U23 coach added.