What Exequiel Palacios could bring to Real Madrid
Exequiel Palacios has been one of the most exciting prospects in Argentine football this year, and he was called up to the national team after his impressive performances at club level.
Moreover, he was influential in River Plate's road to winning the Copa Libertadores. His impressive performance has caught the eye of Real Madrid, and various reports in the Spanish media claim that he will join Los Blancos in the January transfer window.
The next Modric?
Although it is too early to compare the Argentine to the Ballon d'Or winner, anyone who closely observed Palacios in the Copa Libertadores final could make out that his playing style resembles the Croatian midfield maestro's.
Just like Luka Modric, he has undergone a major positional change in his career. He started his career as an offensive midfielder, but soon developed himself into a box-to-box central midfielder.
As a player, his work ethic is commendable, and he covers every blade of grass on the field. Moreover, he does not shy away from the dirty work. He's often seen tracking the opposition into the defensive corner of the pitch, in an attempt to stop their attacks and regain possession.
Furthermore, he's a quick thinker, both on and off the ball. He knows where to pass the ball before he receives it. This could turn out to be an important attribute while playing against tougher opposition in Europe.
However, he is not someone who always likes to play it safe and pass it sideways or backwards. Due to his past as an offensive midfielder, he always likes to find vertical outlets, and moves the play forward. He is River Plate's connector from defense to attack.
In addition to that, he is a very elegant dribbler, and combined with his pace and directness, he can move the ball forward to the advanced players on the pitch with ease. He can also make late runs into the penalty box and chip in with a few goals.
The downside of signing Palacios
Keeping his quality in mind, it is important to know that he has never played for an European club before, and making that huge leap to a team like Real Madrid could turn out to be a risky move for the player, as well as the club.
Real Madrid fans are infamous for their unforgiving nature, and have booed their own players on several occasions. This could pile some extra and unnecessary pressure on the youngster if he were to arrive.
He's also been embroiled in off the pitch controversies in Argentina, involving disloyalty in various relationships. Argentine news outlet, Olé.com once commented that he is more well known for his off the field behavior than his actual footballing career.
If he wants to succeed at the top level, it is important for him to keep his head down and concentrate on his football more devotedly.
The bottom line
At the moment, signing Palacios could be either a boon or a bane. Real Madrid desperately need to find a long term successor to their ageing midfield maestro, Luka Modric, and the River Plate midfielder might just be the perfect replacement for the Croat.