Real Madrid fans have all the love in the world for Carlo Ancelotti, who corrected his mistakes and led Los Blancos to success in 2021/22 that many Madridistas did not even predict. Carlo won the Champions League for the second time in his Madrid career and locked up the league early, producing a season for the ages at the helm of the Royal White ship.
But if there is one more lingering critique Madridistas have of Ancelotti that is important to the club going forward, then it is his unwillingness to give young players from Castilla a chance. Antonio Blanco, Sergio Arribas, and, especially, Miguel Gutierrez were very impressive in 2020/21 under Zinedine Zidane. Miguel and Peter Federico had big moments in 2021/22, too. But they were all seldomly-used by the legendary Italian manager.
Perhaps one Real Madrid Castilla prospect can change that in striker Juanmi Latasa. The well-rounded No. 9 stands a legitimate chance of being the second striker in the squad for the 2022/23 season, though that could hinge on Real’s ability to sell/loan both Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz. Jovic is apparently close to a loan to Fiorentina, but Mariano remains a tough case…
Regardless, Latasa could be around as a third option, too. He was fantastic for Castilla this past season and showed that he merits some consideration in the first team.
Juanmi Latasa has the traits Real Madrid want from a striker
Real Madrid demand a lot from their strikers, specifically when it comes to hold-up play and the ability to get teammates involved. Los Blancos like to take advantage of wingers who can score loads of goals, and that means their striker must be equally prolific at passing and shooting. Karim Benzema has set the benchmark in so many ways, and so it is tough for Real to find a striker with the requisite technical and tactical traits.
Latasa has promise. Carlo is reportedly looking at Edin Dzeko, but Los Blancos rightfully want to go younger at striker than Dzeko.
But if the interest in Dzeko is true, which is dubious but not inconceivable, then why wouldn’t Carletto then rate Latasa? The young striker is right there for free and has similar traits to Dzeko. He is tall, he can create chances, and he can do a lot of the dirty work offensively to aid the players around him.
Latasa might be the Castilla player Ancelotti values because of these traits. He is the kind of player who could take full advantage of a chance or two and then go from there, finding a key niche role in the squad and developing as the 2022/23 season goes on.
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I can’t guarantee what Ancelotti will do or how he sees the players, but I can say that on paper, Latasa has a fighting chance and an advantage the others do not. He has a rare skill-set and is the kind of player Carlo would seem to appreciate.