Should Alvaro Odriozola look beyond Bayern Munich?
Background image: Elias Voelker/Pexels.
Bayern Munich signed Alvaro Odriozola on loan from Real Madrid this week, on a contract which expires at this season's end. When the Spaniard arrived at Los Blancos two years ago, I wrote about how it would complicate matters for then-manager Julen Lopetegui.
I stick to my point. At the time, the deal just felt wrong. Since joining Madrid, the Spaniard has made only 27 appearances in the famous white shirt. Compare that to the 50 outings he earned with his former club Real Sociedad in 2017-18 season. This term, things haven't gotten any better as Odriozola has been left out of the match-day squad on 17 occasions.
Madrid’s squad is oversubscribed. They have two or more players capable of starting at every position, including the right-back slot. Dani Carvajal isn't ready to give up the throne yet and the 28-year-old, who helped Real win the Champions League three times in a row, is a far better option than Odriozola.
Next year, Achraf Hakimi will come home from a two-year loan deal. The Moroccan international has performed miles better at Borussia Dortmund than Odriozola has this term. He could well be the regular starter going forward.
It's not all about the competition, though. Whenever presented with an opportunity, Odriozola proved to be inconsistent. Clubs like Real Madrid don’t give second chances when they have someone infinitely more dependable on their books.
Manager turnover has played its part, too. Lopetegui’s successor, Santiago Solari, involved as many younger players as he can in the squad and Odriozola was allocated regular minutes. His style of play was different and much less conservative than the current Sevilla coach’s. But Solari left - handing the reins to Zidane who seemingly isn't a fan of the young right-back.
Injuries haven't helped either. Odriozola fractured a collarbone at the back end of last season, which derailed his start to this campaign and set him off on the wrong path. But, it's worth noting that we're talking about someone who has only just turned 24. time is on his side and Odriozola has the opportunity to right all those wrongs mentioned above.
• Only 27 games for Real
• Ok defender (2 tackles p90)
• Good offensively (1.4 key passes / 0.9 acc. crosses)
• 0.3 assists
• Pace: 35km/h
Fine solution, 6 months to prove himself.
Makes right side more attacking & allows Pavard to play CB. https://t.co/QI4GdtWJA3
Bayern are injury-struck. Lucas Hernandez returned lately but Nicklas Sule remains sidelined. This means Hernandez will have to play centrally. With Joshua Kimmich taking a central role and Benjamin Parvard finding it hard to find his feet, Odriozola is bestowed with a perfect opportunity.
The German club moves shrewdly in the transfer market. They spot world-class players who are struggling and provide them with a situation to prosper. This constructs a win-win situation for all parties involved and Odriozola could benefit.
Odriozola will become the second recent player to go on loan from Madrid to Bayern after James Rodriguez. The Colombian international’s move did turn out to be fruitful and lightning could well strike twice - but he has to start life in Bavaria on the right foot.
While a temporary move to Bayern Munich sounds good, he must look at permanent options. This is because Bayern is highly unlikely to retain players who are loaned in. Also, there is no option of a permanent transfer in the deal so Real Madrid could well command a heftier fee.
A move back to the Spanish capital doesn't make sense. A move to a Premier League club like Tottenham Hotspur or Wolves makes sense on paper but in reality, probably not.
He can look back at Real Sociedad. Currently placed 6th in La Liga, they challenge for a ticket to European competitions. 27-year-old Joseba Zaldua is not as reliable as Odriozola and the club would undoubtedly welcome him home with open arms.
Odriozola can explore other options on Spanish shores, too. Sevilla is an interesting option. They're thriving under Lopetegui, while the player has a positive history with the said manager. In terms of position, Sevilla are a step ahead of Sociedad while continental competition is practically guaranteed every season. Right now, this could well be the correct move for Ozriozola as he looks to finally fulfil his potential...