Three Premier League clubs that should move for Colombian prodigy

Forza Udinese

Sunderland, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur all feature as clubs that would do well to make a move for Udinese star Luis Muriel’s services in January.

Udinese have a reputation for bringing young talents along and setting them on the way to stardom – look no further than Arsenal summer signing Alexis Sanchez.

Another recognisable name to make his way through the Zebrette ranks is Juan Cuadrado, now plying his trade with Fiorentina as a globally-renowned player.

Following in the footsteps of the Colombian was meant to be countryman Luis Muriel, who arrived at the Stadio Friuli in 2010 from Deportivo Cali.

The versatile forward moved to Italy amid comparisons with Brazilian legend Ronaldo, with the 2012 Serie A Young Footballer of the year award later confirming his promise.

However, Muriel has somewhat tailed off after picking up the prestigious accolade. Since the start of the 2013-14 season, he’s bagged just four goals in 34 league appearances.

This term has been a struggle in particular. Stuck behind Udinese legend Antonio Di Natale and reliable veteran Cyril Thereau in the pecking order, Muriel is yet to get on the scoresheet.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Udinese are now considering selling in January, giving Muriel the chance to reignite his career once more away from northeast Italy.

But while the Zebrette are known for selling at premium prices, the Colombian’s downturn of late offers a chance for clubs to pick up a highly-rated talent at a discount.

Still just 23, Muriel has plenty to offer and a change of scenery might be the move he needs to unlock his full potential.

Following are three Premier League sides who would do well to take a bargain punt on the South American prospect when January rolls around.

Aston Villa

Everybody and their grandmother knows it – Aston Villa need firepower. Paul Lambert’s men may have broken their incredible five-game goal-less streak at the weekend, but that didn’t stop them from losing for the sixth time on the bounce in the Premier League.

The argument could be made that the likes of Gabby Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke have lacked service, with creativity needed to go along with scoring prowess to fix the problem.

Muriel possesses vision as a forward that makes him a threat setting up team-mates as well as looking to beat the 'keeper himself, so would be a useful addition at Villa Park.

The Colombian’s ability to play in a variety of roles means Lambert would have tactical flexibility as well, helping break the stagnant nature of the Villa attack.

Sunderland

Gus Poyet desperately wanted to bring Fabio Borini to Wearside permanently over the summer, only to be rebuffed by the player’s desire to fight for his place at Liverpool.

The Uruguayan was willing to fork out £14 million to have his former loan star back, and Muriel could seemingly be had for significantly less than that figure.

Steven Fletcher has done a commendable job shouldering the burden in front of goal though Connor Wickham has found it difficult to hit the back of the net this term.

Muriel could provide cover for both – able to play in wide positions as well – and fill the void left by Borini when he returned to Anfield after last season.

Tottenham

It’s no secret that Spurs could do with another striker in January, as Emanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado have been wholly unreliable while Harry Kane is still a raw product.

Muriel’s goal scoring record doesn’t scream dependability – something Mauricio Pochettino sorely needs up front – but he does boast a fair amount of experience for his age.

The Colombian is strong enough to play as a lone forward, also possessing the technical skills to be deadly in one-on-one situations.

He’s young enough that Pochettino could still mould him into the type of striker he requires, and if Daniel Levy is indeed looking for a lower-cost option, could turn out being a worthwhile project.

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