Real Madrid: The importance of Kubo’s potential move to Real Sociedad

Takefusa Kubo has now been playing in LaLiga for two seasons in a row. He signed for Real Madrid in 2019, and since then he has had loan spells at Mallorca, Villarreal and Getafe. The first one at Mallorca was an overall success. I think that Kubo learned a lot about the league and its style during that time span, but he couldn’t save Mallorca from relegation. He had a free role at Mallorca; he was given the keys to the offense, and he handled stuff pretty well.

Last season, Real Madrid agreed to a loan deal for Takefusa Kubo with Villarreal. He would stay at La Ceramica for a year, and then would go back to Madrid. That one, I think, was crucial. Villarreal is one of the best teams in La Liga, so it was a pretty big step forward for the Japanese International. He would now play within a role, within a specific system. He’d understand what it’s like to play in a big team in Spain.

But, that didn’t work out well. Kubo couldn’t play in a proper system, his defensive contributions were somewhat decent, that too only towards the end of his short loan spell, and he just couldn’t get going.

The same story went on at Getafe. He wasn’t able to cement a place in the starting XI and was largely ineffective. He simply couldn’t turn the game around like he used to at Mallorca. Obviously, that was because he wasn’t confined to working in a proper system at Mallorca. That’s not how it works for bigger teams, and Kubo will have to realise it before he (potentially) moves to Real Sociedad, per source.

Kubo’s game-time at Real Madrid down the line largely depends on the outcome of his next loan spell

He is still a work in progress, but I think that if Kubo really wants to prove to Real Madrid that he is capable of being a vital player for the team down the line, this loan spell — should it happen — is going to be crucial. Sociedad, like Villarreal, is a very good Spanish side that plays in a proper system. Kubo will have to learn how to be effective in that system, because unless you’re ridiculously good (see: Messi at Barcelona or Hazard during his time at Chelsea) you probably won’t be allowed to do whatever you want in the attack. That’s the thing he needs to work on if he gets a move to Anoeta.

Secondly, Sociedad usually opt for high-intensity football. They like having forwards and attacking midfielders that press the opposition, and work hard to retrieve the ball through a well laid-out counter-press. For that to work out, Kubo will have no choice but to press. It’s not like he can’t do it, though. Either he wasn’t asked to do it much at Villarreal and Getafe, or he didn’t do it as well as the coaches wanted him to. We already know the former won’t be the case at Sociedad, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the Japanese international there.

Kubo will also have to track back to help the defense, and utilize the limited time he’ll have the ball for. The Japanese developed a habit of doing defensive work during his time at Villarreal, but it certainly needs a lot of improvement, and this can be the year where he takes that leap on both ends.

Odegaard’s loan move to Real Sociedad was a massive success only because he played in a system, worked hard and carved open defenses in the blink of an eye. Replicating this would be crucial for Kubo.

There’s no doubt that he’s one talented football player. He needs to put in a lot of hard work to reach his potential. If and when he does that, it would truly be a sight to watch.