Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane must be pretty confident about Asier Illarramendi’s potential for spending 39 million euros on a 23-year old who has only played 53 games in La Liga.
Real Sociedad’s homegrown midfielder had a terrific performance last season with the Basques. But playing 32 games at a very good level shouldn’t be enough for getting a long term contract at Santiago Bernabeu, especially if the transfer costs almost 40 million.
Los Blancos directors should know that adaptation to their club is not easy for young and promising players who arrive under a lot of pressure.
Nuri Sahin also moved to Madrid at 23 years old after having one brilliant season at Borussia Dortmund. The Turkish international never performed as expected and went on loan to Liverpool and Dortmund, where he never got his best game back.
Now, it seems very unlikely that Sahin will return to Real. In fact, Dortmund are planning on buying him back. But, at least, he only cost 10 million euros.
Illarramendi signing among most expensive in Real Madrid history
Illarramendi is the sixth most expensive signing of Real Madrid history, only behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo Nazario. He has cost more than Mesut Ozil, Karim Benzema, Isco, David Beckham or Arjen Robben.
That’s really a lot of pressure for a young Spaniard who hasn’t even played an European competition. In fact, Illarramendi is already suffering that burden, as he has just been diagnosed with fatigue from stress.
Moreover, the good performance of Casemiro, who also plays in the centre-half position and has only cost six million, is making a lot of people wonder if Illarramendi’s signing was necessary.
Perhaps the most sensible solution should have been reaching an agreement to bring him next year, let him play the Champions League with Real Sociedad, let him grow without pressure and see if he is really worth what Los Merengues have paid.
Illarramendi’s deal is a high risk transaction, and only time will tell if it was worth it.