Mercato Player Profile: Wait, who is Jeison Murillo?

Mercato Player Profile: Wait, WHO IS Jeison Murillo?

“Oh yeah, yeah, he’s that really good um…defensive left wing-backtista, he’s like, the next Roberto Carlos.” “He’s a great left-footed defender. Either plays for Rayo Volcano or Real Fetís. Trust me, I get beIN Sports.”
“Isn’t he that one pop-singer like? *Dahdah-dahdah-dah, like it’s dynamite!* F’in tune mate.”

Definitely a center-back, definitely right-footed, definitely plays for Granada, and is most likely not Jason Derulo. His name is Jeison Murillo, and he will join our squad this summer. Here is everything you need to know about him and more.

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Player Profile

  • Full Name: Jeison Fabián Murillo Cerón
  • National Team: Colombia
  • Clubs: Udinese (2010), Granada B (2010-11), Cádiz (2011-12), UD Las Palmas (2012-13),Granada (2013-2015), Inter (2015-?)
  • Age: 22
  • Born: 5/27/1992
  • Nationality: Colombian
  • Place of Birth: Cali, Colombia
  • Right-footed
  • Celebration: N/A
  • Height: 182 cm / 6.00 ft
  • Weight: 75kg /166 lbs
  • Position: Center-back
  • Squad number: 24
  • (Projected) Current Value: €8 million euros
  • Contract (Inter): 5 years for €1 million euros gross per year
  • Deal: Granada-Inter for €8 million, possible €2 million Champions League qualification bonus 
  • On recent national squad prelim call-up?: Yes
  • On recent national squad match-day call-up?: Yes
  • Career Senior Club Appearances/Goals: 155/8 
  • Career Senior National Team Appearances: 5
  • Career Total Senior Appearances/Goals: 160/8

Murillo tackle

Playing Career

Early Years (Youth-2011)

A childhood product of the Inter Campus, which he recalls fondly, Jeison Murillo played his formative years with hometown club Deportivo Cali.

He was signed by Udinese just days after his 18th birthday. As part of an agreement with Granada (both clubs owned by the Pozzo family), he was loaned to their reserve squad instantaneously.

Granada (2011-2015)

After a season playing in the reserve squad with regional teams Murillo was signed outright by Granada.

Segunda Division Loans

From 2011 to 2013 Jeison played on loan at Cadiz (making just one appearance) and Las Palmas, fortifying his understanding of the position and professional football.

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The 20 year-old Colombian made 41 total appearances in 2012-13 with Las Palmas, scoring four goals in the process. He played over 3,500 minutes racking up 11 yellow cards, two of which leading to reds.

His time in the Spanish Segunda division was well-spent, giving him the full attention of Granada who thereafter finally made him a permanent fixture in their first team. 

Atletico Madrid's forward David Villa (L) vies with Granada's Colombian forward Jeison Murillo during the Spanish league football match Granada FC vs Club Atletico de Madrid at Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on October 31, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERRERO

Enter the Primera

The 2013-14 season put Jeison on the map. 2,848 minutes, 32 appearances, a goal, and two assists. In his first La Liga season he held an average of 2.2 interceptions, 5.5 clearances, 1.7 tackles, and 0.6 blocked shots per game. He completed 85.2% of attempted passes, completing an average of 32.8 passes per game.

Murillo kick-started many attacks with an average of 5.1 accurate long-balls per game out of 6.9 attempted. Great numbers for a 21 year-old defender in his debut top-flight season.

He did score an own goal, and was sent off once as well as he showed lapses in concentration. His 1.1 fouls per game was not a terrible issue. Thankfully for Jeison, his lightning recovery speed has helped him make up for his mistakes more than a few times.

This season drew much praise for the player, and included an incredible overhead-kick goal. Named in many “top…” lists, big clubs began circling closer. His dip in form the next season could have proven helpful to Inter’s signing him.

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Current Season

2014-15 has been somewhat tricky. The fleet-footed defender has been restricted by injuries (possibly incurred by his explosive playing style), and has only made 18 appearances. The player is currently in the infirmary treating an injury, but seems to be looking forward to the Copa America with Colombia as he has made the 30-man squad. His numbers have fallen off, as the performance of those around him has done so as well.

He held to an average of 2.2 interceptions, while his clearances and blocked shots slipped to 5.4, and 0.5, per game, respectively. His average tackles increased to 1.9, and his average fouls committed dropped to 0.9.

Murillo’s passing game wained significantly this term however, with his completed percentage dropping to 80.2. His average passes completed per game dropped greatly from 32.8 the previous season to 26.6. Matching his average of 3.1 completed long balls, 3.1 would also fail to reach their targets. Something just wasn’t working going forward.

Changing players, styles, and tactical instructions must all be incorporated, but this term did show a dip in form for the defender. Giveaways led to goals for both Messi and Ronaldo this season. Injuries and a near season-long transfer saga certainly did not help his cause.

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Style

He is very fast, strong in the tackle, and despite his size (1.82m is not terribly tall for a center back), is a force in the air. The gung-ho defender likes taking the ball forward starting attacks, although he prefers finding an outlet via long-ball.

He has very timely steps forward, and reacts quickly to situations. His defensive vision and positioning belie his age. His left foot is almost as good as his right foot as well, and because of this he can play in either center back position. He has played primarily as a left center-back.

Murillo is all-action, and never shies away from throwing himself into an interception or last-ditch tackle. This can hurt him as he has injured himself from this in the past.

All in all, a certain Ivan Ramiro Cordoba comes to mind, no? Stop right there Mahdi- *okay..*- I will be the first to say asking him to live up to that label would be suicidal to his career at this point.

Evaluation

He honestly reminds me of Juan Jesus a bit. But only a bit. His concentration has only really become an issue lately, but given his club’s position, that is somewhat expected.

We are definitely betting a lot on him, and it is his potential we are looking at. He has a great upside, and can really show himself to Mancio given the shambles that has been our defense this season. The fact that he can play center back while lacking significant height and weight show that he is an intelligent player.

What worries me, and only ever so slightly, is that any lapses of concentration carry with him to Milano. Don’t be too scared, he’s looked nowhere as clumsy as any of our defenders yet. €8 million is simply a lot to gamble on a defender. Especially one with only really a single good season under his belt.

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He has had to defend against some of the trickiest, and generally best attackers in the world playing in La Liga. I like his age, and his attributes are something our immobile defense really needs.

All indications point towards it, but still, here’s to hoping he’s more Cordoba than Rivas.

What do you think of Murillo? Comment below and let us know!