OFFICIAL: Real Madrid defender joins La Liga club
What’s the story?
Real Madrid have let talented 23-year-old centre-back Diego Llorente join La Liga side Real Sociedad on a 5-year-deal. The 23-year-old Real Madrid youth product had been on loan at Malaga and Rayo Vallecano the past 2 seasons and had impressed with his gritty performances at centre-back for the La Liga sides.
The defender who joined Real Sociedad for a €7 million fee spoke about his excitement at completing the move:
"Everything I have heard about San Sebastian has been very good," Llorente said. "I'm very happy that a club like Real Sociedad have shown an interest in me. Real Sociedad has a very good reputation -- both in Spain and in Europe."
In case you didn’t know...
Diego Llorente had made only 2 senior appearances for Los Blancos with both of them coming as a substitute. However, after his impressive performances at Malaga, it was widely expected that the talented centre-back will be a regular member of the first-team squad this season.
Calm, composed and skilled on the ball, Llorente has even been capped once for Spain in his career (in a May 2016 friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina).
Also read: Real Madrid confirm Pepe's replacement
The heart of the matter
With Pepe’s and now Llorente’s departure from Madrid, Real Madrid will need to think about their centre-back options for next season. Sergio Ramos, Varane and Nacho are the only 3 recognised senior centre-backs at the moment, although Zidane will be also looking to count on the returning Jesus Vallejo this season,
This transfer of Llorente means that Varane will most likely remain at Real Madrid as the All Whites cannot afford to lose another defender. Varane was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, but it looks like the Frenchman will play an integral role for the Champions League winners next season.
The 23-year-old Real Madrid youth product has been consistent for both Rayo and Malaga and he represents a coup of sorts for Real Sociedad. Llorente has plenty of potential to grow into a world-class defender and Madrid should have held on to him for another season before deciding on his future.
If the Spaniard manages to remain fit, he might well grow up to become one of the best centre-backs in the League.