Alvaro Odriozola signing leads to Real Madrid questions

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Real Madrid have completed the signing of highly-rated Real Sociedad defender Alvaro Odriozola on a four-year deal in a move which follows their recruitment policy of sweeping up young Spanish talent.

No financial information has been disclosed regarding the deal but reports in Spain suggest the right-back’s €40m release clause was met as the European champions made the first major addition to their first-team squad of the summer, although there are concerns it raises more questions than provides answers.

Madrid appeared to be well-stocked in the position which Odriozola operates. Dani Carvajal has established himself as a mainstay for both club and country which Nacho Fernandez has proven to be a more than reliable backup, despite being naturally a central defender.

Moroccan international Achraf Hakimi was also being integrated into the first-team squad, but it now appears he too may move on. Reports in the Spanish and German press say Borussia Dortmund are closing in on a two-year loan deal for the talented 19-year-old.

A highly-rated right-back, Odriozola starred for La Roja’s Under-21 team before earning his senior debut earlier this year and was part of the 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia. He is more attack-minded than either Carvajal or Nacho and his offensive attributes mean he can be described more as a wing-back than a full-back. His main strength lies in his willingness to get forward, link-up with a winger and provide a threat from wide.

However, it must be remembered that his career is already moving very fast. He only made his debut for La Real in January 2017 and six months later he signed his first long-term, professional deal. One year on and he is a Spain international and Real Madrid player, but such a fast protectory in any football career must be marked with the caveat that it may be ‘too much, too soon’.

While in San Sebastian he may not have been in the full glare of the Spanish sporting press, that may well change at Madrid. His bigger issue though will be establishing himself in the starting line-up. There is a risk that he can will turn out like Theo Hernandez or, more pressingly, Dani Ceballos – Madrid’s two signings last summer who did not break through into Zinedine Zidane’s starting XI.

Now under Julen Lopetegui, whom he knows from international level, Odriozola’s integration may prove less tricky but he now must show plenty of mental strength as well as technical ability if he is to continue his rise to stardom.

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