It has been a relatively quiet start to the summer transfer window at most Spanish clubs with more than two months still remaining for deals to be completed. Real Madrid have made several early dives into the market but elsewhere the most intriguing business has been done by Real Sociedad who are building towards their first full season with Imanol at the helm.
Following three straight wins, La Real ultimately missed out on Europa League qualification on the final day with defeat at Espanyol. That could well prove a blessing in disguise to some extent with a squad that is some way off being big enough to compete on multiple fronts. It is though one that is splattered with quality and has a decent spine consisting of the likes of Diego Llorente, Asier Illarramendi, Igor Zubeldia and the very highly rated Mikel Oyarzabal.
With the right additions, they are a side that could finally make the leap towards a more genuine top six challenge in 2019/20 and so far, they look to have done some excellent business.
The Teenage Prodigy
‘The next Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ ??
Alexander Isak leaves Borussia Dortmund for Real Sociedad ? pic.twitter.com/eTg6WOm1Tg
— Goal (@goal) June 12, 2019
In this day and age, few transfers go through without being preceded by weeks and often months of speculation. Occasionally though a story almost seems to come from nowhere and that was largely the case with Real Sociedad’s capture of Borussia Dortmund striker Alexander Isak earlier this month.
Being able to attract one of the most promising young strikers in European football to Anoeta is nothing short of a major coup for the Basque club. Isak is already a full Swedish international at 19 and scored his first competitive goal in their recent qualifier against Malta. Comparisons to Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be a bit premature and not particularly constructive at this stage in his career but Isak showed his potential with a very impressive loan spell at Willem II in the Eredivisie at the end of last term.
He netted 13 goals in 13 starts for the Dutch club and impressed with his all-round play and maturity. In one particularly stand-out performance, Isak scored two and assisted two in a 4-3 win over Heracles. That came just three days after a hat-trick against Fortuna Sittard in a remarkable sequence in which Isak was named man of the match (by whoscored) in four consecutive Eredivisie outings.
As spectacular as his loan spell was, Isak’s form in the Netherlands wasn’t enough to convince Dortmund of his credentials and the German club’s loss may well be Real Sociedad’s gain. At €6.5 million, he could prove a brilliant signing.
Smart Business – Portu joins from Girona
?? Portu (27)
Girona ? Real Sociedad
? 10.00 mil. €
⏩ Position = Midfield pic.twitter.com/E6ITLw7m45
— Transfer Opta (@TransferOpta) June 20, 2019
The Isak fee was surpassed when La Real announced the €10 million Euro purchase of Portu from relegated Girona last week. The attacking midfielder has really impressed during his two years in the Spanish top flight with the Catalan club and would certainly have added something to any team outside of the current top four.
Sociedad also reportedly beat off Premier League interest to get the deal for Portu done early and he should provide greater consistency than the departed Juanmi who has left for Real Betis for a comparable fee. Portu’s versatility is certainly an asset and he’s capable of operating on either flank, in a number ten role or even as an out and out striker.
It will be fascinating to watch exactly how Sociedad’s attacking jigsaw comes together next term with the likes of Willian Jose and Mikel Oyarzabal already providing some excellent options.
Can they hold onto Oyarzabal?
?[SPORT] | Valverde has his eyes on Mikel Oyarzabal.
? The Spanish player is highly valued by Valverde. It’s difficult to separate him from Real Sociedad.
? His release clause is 70 million euros, he wants to continue his development in the best condition. pic.twitter.com/zF4Wj53fNP
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) June 12, 2019
It’s possible that one of those players leaves although Sociedad fans will be hoping and praying it isn’t Oyarzabal who underlined his potential with another impressive season. The 22 year old is one of Spanish football’s brightest prospects and it seems inevitable that big clubs will come calling at some stage.
Sociedad are currently operating on a net spend of around €13 million this summer with their other major piece of business seeing 20 year old centre-back Modibo Sagnan arrive from Lens. That should be a manageable figure so it’s unlikely they would have any immediate need to balance the books.
Oyarzabal further endeared himself to the Sociedad fans by turning down interest from Basque rivals Athletic last summer and instead signing a new contract that still has five years to run. La Real will therefore be in no rush to cash in on their biggest asset but with Oyarzabal currently impressing at the European U21 Championship, they may be braced for more interest before the summer is over.
If they can hold onto him, they could be a cracking side to watch next season with potentially a very exciting attacking line-up.
Article via Mark Sochon – Contact: marksochon(at)hotmail.co.uk | @marksoc1 on Twitter