Barcelona and Real Madrid are reportedly set to go head-to-head in pursuit of Alvaro Odriozola, with a right-back being priority for both clubs.
According to Spanish publication MARCA, Alvaro Odriozola is set to spark a transfer battle between the Royal Two of Spanish football. The two biggest clubs in the country, Barcelona and Real Madrid, are keen on signing the Real Sociedad defender in the summer transfer window.
Odriozola progressed through the ranks at Real Sociedad before making the club’s reserve team in 2013. The player spent two full seasons with the B-side, and his impressive performances saw him being promoted to the first-team setup at Anoeta in the second half of the 2016/17 season.
Having initially received the opportunity to represent the Real Sociedad first team due to Joseba Saldua and Carloz Martinez’s injuries, Odriozola grabbed his chance with both hands and has, since, cemented his place in the side.
Semedo, Cancelo, Odriozola and Soares are all alternatives to Hector Bellerin if Barcelona fails to sign the Spaniard from Arsenal. pic.twitter.com/UKSxnNNXia
— M·A·J (@UltraAutistic) June 27, 2017
In all, the 21-year-old made 16 appearances for Sociedad’s first team last season. And while he was solid and reliable at the back, it was his output on the attacking front that saw him grab attention, as he was often a menacing presence up front, contributing to his team’s cause with 5 assists.
Odriozola’s progress has been especially impressive considering he was an attacking player before being converted into a right-back while playing for the reserves. And having been such a revelation since his debut back in January, he is attracting interest from the two biggest clubs in Spain – Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Catalan club are in desperate search of a right-back to fill the void left by Dani Alves’s Camp Nou exit last summer. While Aleix Vidal was highly unimpressive due to lack of consistency, Sergi Roberto was found wanting due to his lack of pace at times, although he was surprisingly reliable more often than not.
The 25-year-old, though, is set to be deployed as a midfielder in the forthcoming season by Ernesto Valverde, who is now keen to sign a right-back. While former Barcelona defender Hector Bellerin is his primary target, fellow Spain under-21 international Odriozola is being eyed as a cheaper alternative.
MARCA: Real Madrid could make a move for Sociedad youngster Alvaro Odriozola if Danilo is sold. pic.twitter.com/MNnvPq30gQ
— M•A•J (@UltraSuristic_) July 5, 2017
The Blaugrana, though, are facing stiff competition in pursuit of the 21-year-old in the form of arch-rivals Real Madrid. Los Blancos do not have a pressing issue regarding a first-choice right-back with Dani Carvajal well established at Santiago Bernabeu.
However, Carvajal’s deputy, Danilo is set to depart this summer in search of regular first-team football, prompting Zinedine Zidane to delve into the transfer market in search of a viable replacement. The Real Madrid boss has, thus, set his sights on Odriozola.
The player, though, could be tempted by the offer from Barcelona as the Catalan giants are likely to be able to offer him more game time instead of Real Madrid, where Dani Carvajal is the firm first-choice. Meanwhile, Odriozola’s pace and abilities on the ball make him a perfect fit in Barcelona’s system.
And at 21, he could potentially be a long-term solution on the right side of defence for either club, should he continue his development at an impressive rate. A potential stumbling block in his pursuit, though, is his release clause which is worth €40 million, and it remains to be seen if both clubs are open to paying that amount for the player.