Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca has reportedly emerged as a transfer target for Real Madrid after being rejected in their advances to sign their primary targets.
Real Madrid had a forgetful pre-season and the signings will need time to gel. But, one of the primary goals of the club in the market is still unfulfilled. The Spanish giants are looking to reinforce their midfield and have reportedly now turned their attention to Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca, according to Mundo Deportivo.
It is evident that Roca was not the first-choice target for Real Madrid. Los Blancos had pursued the Premier League duo of Christian Eriksen and Paul Pogba. But, Tottenham and Manchester United both stood firm on their steep prices, which Real Madrid were unwilling to match. Hence, Real Madrid have been forced to look elsewhere.
While there is still a chance to land either of the two Premier League stars, Real Madrid seem to now be looking at Marc Roca. The 22-year-old broke into the Espanyol first-team setup in the 2016-17 season. But, it was the 2018-19 campaign where he started getting recognition for his ability.
Roca featured in 35 of the 38 La Liga games for Espanyol and while his return of a goal and 2 assists is less than what is expected of a midfielder, the 22-year-old reprises a similar role to Casemiro’s, which explains the lack of direct contribution on the attacking front.
Another small but crucial feather is the fact that although he is primarily a holding midfielder, he has dabbled in as many as six positions in the outfield. The 22-year-old is also one of the mainstays in the Spanish Under-21 side and is expected to be a part of Spanish NT in the years to come.
Future-wise, Roca makes more sense than Pogba and Eriksen. Roca has age on his side and will also cost less compared to the two Premier League stars. As per the report, Espanyol are unwilling to negotiate a fee under the €40 million release clause, which Real Madrid are unlikely to splash for the 22-year-old.
But, even if they do, the fee is less compared to Eriksen, who only has a year left on his Tottenham deal, and monumentally lower than what Manchester United were asking for Paul Pogba. Roca is also experienced in La Liga, something that neither Eriksen nor Pogba possess.
Bayern Munich were earlier labelled as a party pursuing Roca’s signature and could still be interested. The Espanyol midfielder though, would perhaps, prefer to stay in the same league, which has become a sort of comfort factor for him. Roca fits the modern style of football that Real Madrid are trying to inculcate into their setup and could be on his way to the Bernabeu, if Real don’t get their hands on Eriksen or Pogba.