Real Sociedad have stepped up their operation to bring in a centre-forward ahead of the new campaign with the Basque club confirming yesterday that Jonathas de Jesús has left to join Rubin Kazan while Imanol Agirretxe is struggling to shake off an ankle injury and could face a second trip to the operating table if things don't improve. Club president Jokin Aperribay did not join the squad for their summer stage in Ermelo, Holland - deciding to remain in San Sebastián and work in tandem with Director of Sport Loren to find a reinforcement for the team's attack. La Real are studying several options, among them, 24-year-old Brazilian Willian José who is the closest to moving to Anoeta.
While Fernando Llorente was at one time a potential candidate, it now looks like he has been ruled out by La Real, with the former Athletic Club and Juventus forward now looking close to signing for Swansea.
Willian José spent last season on loan at Las Palmas and impressed La Real when the two sides met in both league and Cup competitions; he also has ample experience of playing in Spain after enjoying spells with Real Madrid Castilla and Zaragoza. The only hurdle could be that he is the property of the same third party investment group which owns goalkeeper Gero Rulli, and the club's sports department is still dizzy from their dealings with them. But La Real have been willing to negotiate with CD Maldonado again and in the last few hours, advances have been made. Maldonado are keen to find an outlet for Willian José as soon as possble and he could be La Real's for 5 million euros. He would sign a long-term contract and the buy-out fee would be set at 40 million euros, the same as the most recent players to renew their contracts with the club.
Real Sociedad are keeping their options open and are monitoring the situation of Borja Bastón. The striker recently returned to Atlético after a great season on loan in Guipuzcoa at Eibar. But La Real have yet to speak to Atletico or the player's agent. It would certainly be a more expensive option as Atlético would be looking for a fee around the 15 million euro mark. Another candidate is Wolfburg's Bas Dost - but again, it would be another costly operation.
A cheaper and more viable option would be persuading Barcelona to let Munir El Haddadi spend the new season on loan in Donosti. La Real have already contacted Barça and put in a request, and now they have to wait. Munir isn't an out-and-out centre-forward but then neither is Agirretxe and the 20-year-old is an express request from coach Eusebio, who has excellent contacts at Camp Nou...