Adalberto Peñaranda arrives on loan to bolster Malaga's attacking options

Peñaranda, presented to fans on Thursday, will wear the number 16
Peñaranda, presented to fans on Thursday, will wear the number 16 / P. J. Quero
  • The 19-year-old Venezuelan forward arrives on loan from English side Watford and is Romero's first January signing

The vacancy left by Weligton's departure from the first-team squad was filled on Wednesday evening when the club announced the loan signing of Adalberto Peñaranda.

The 19-year-old Venezuelan joins on loan from English club Watford, for whom he signed in February 2016 from Udinese. However, he had already started the 2015-16 season on loan at Andalusian rivals Granada (all three of the aforementioned teams are owned by the Pozzo family).

His time in La Liga was a success, though; at 18 years and 175 days, Peñaranda was Granada's youngest ever top-flight debutant and he finished the league season with five goals. He then rejoined Udinese on loan in the summer but his lack of game time in Italy facilitated his latest move.

Known for his lightening pace, Peñaranda will boost Malaga's threat in attack, offering support to Sandro Ramírez in the absence of last season's top scorer Charles, out through injury, and that of Youssef En-Nesyri who will represent Morocco at the African Cup of Nations.

What's more, Peñaranda will offer versatility to new coach Marcelo Romero with his ability to play anywhere across the front line and will perfectly suit what is expected to be a counter-attacking style under Romero.

Given the player's enormous potential -and the fact that he has a contract with Watford until 2020- Malaga do not have the option to make the deal permanent but have the first option to extend the loan deal for next season.

The club's first signing of the January window was presented to fans at La Rosaleda on Thursday afternoon. He is already training with the first team ahead of the side's trip to Vigo to take on Celta on Sunday.

Further reinforcements

Another player interesting Malaga is Abdoulaye Doucouré, also from Watford. Centre midfield is another priority position after the season-ending injury suffered by Zdravko Kuzmanovic and the fitness struggles of Recio.

The 23-year-old Frenchman could join on loan after interest in Villarreal's Alfred N'Diaye seems to have cooled.