REAL MADRID

Kubo: Real Madrid cancelled Vallejo and Lunin's loan deals

Real Madrid are taking a patient approach to Take Kubo's loan situation at Villarreal, and hope the club will oblige by giving the player more playing time.

Last season there were two examples of how Real Madrid responded when players who were out on loan failed to be given a reasonable amount of playing time. Both Andriy Lunin and Jesús Vallejo struggled to get minutes on-field, and both eventually had their loan arrangements cancelled halfway through the season and ended up at other clubs where they were given more opportunities to play. In the offices in Valdebebas, Madrid's technical team are contemplating doing the same this Christmas with Takefusa Kubo, who has only been given 54 minutes of playing time in five games.

From Real Madrid's perspective, loan operations are not about their players having any special privileges or being undisputed first choice players in the line-up. All that Madrid want is for the players who go out on loan to be given sufficient opportunities to play. Even when he wasn't injured, which kept him out of the side under Zidane, Vallejo was practically ignored during his brief loan spell at Wolves. He had 612 minutes of playing time in seven games - three of which were Europa League qualifiers in August, then disappeared from the team altogether from 30 October. By the end of January he was back in Spain and with Granada, with whom he racked up 881 minutes of playing time in 14 games, nine of them in the starting line-up. He has continued along similar lines at the start of the 2020-21 season at the Nuevo Los Cármenes, with a team in which he is excelling and who now value him and also depend on him. However it was Vallejo who decided that he wanted to leave Wolves as he felt that the coach Nuno, had gone back on what he promised him when he signed. Wolves accepted the player's petition and loaned him to Granada. Madrid took a neutral stance, but supported the player's decision. So if Kubo similarly requests a change of club, Madrid will also respect his decision as they did with Vallejo

Lunin finally given a chance at Ovideo

As for Lunin, (who curiously enough is Kubo's closest friend at Real Madrid) something similar happened when he was loan out a couple of years ago. In his first loan stint, the Ukrainian goalkeeper joined Leganés for the 2018-19 season, but played just seven games. His next loan, at Valladolid in 2019-20 was even worse - he made just two appearances, both of them in the Copa del Rey in December and January. That was why he was whisked off to Oviedo, where he played the remaining 20 games of the season the the Second Division. In Asturias, he posted better figures than Alphonse Areola, who was then Madrid's second choice keeper, and played a key role in helping the team avoid relegation, with 75% success rate in saves.

So far Kubo is averaging 11 minutes of playing time per game with Villarreal. He has not featured in the starting XI at all and his longest spell on field was a 16 minute run-out at Camp Nou. Madrid are not happy at all with those statistics, but they will wait to see how the situation develops. Until December, with Europa League games and the Copa del Rey, there is time for Kubo to be handed more chances to play. If not, the solution looks quite clear.