Nacho Fernandez has been at Real Madrid his entire career and has become a stalwart during one of the club’s most successful ever eras.
Racking up 286 appearances since he made his debut in 2010, Nacho has never been first choice at the Santiago Bernabeu, but he has played an important role in five Champions League victories and three La Liga triumphs.
However after just 414 minutes in the opening stages of this season, there are growing suggestions that he may leave the club. At the same stage last season he had six more starts, but the addition of Antonio Rudiger has pushed him down the pecking order.
With his contract expiring next summer, it is no surprise that clubs are interested in him. AS have listed a number of MLS clubs that would happily have him, also including Milan, Wolves and Roma as potential destinations.
However Los Blancos would be losing an essential part of their dressing room should Nacho be allowed out the door. Although he is 32, Nacho has played comparatively few games to his peers and his physical condition should not be in question. Strong and with useful quickness, he holds up against most forwards.
In addition Nacho’s love for the club means he is the perfect squad option for Los Blancos. Most players of his quality either move on or will demand more compensation in order to sit on the bench for most of the season.
His presence in the group, as an example of someone who does not always have opportunities, but works hard and makes valuable contributions, is useful in creating the dressing room culture that Carlo Ancelotti so values.
As he has shown in multiple European and La Liga runs, he is also reliable across the back four. Previously Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal have suffered from injury issues, something which Nacho has paled the impact of alongside Lucas Vazquez.
His prospective absence will not torpedo Real Madrid’s hopes of winning the biggest matches or competing on the highest levels. With Rudiger in the team now, it is fair to say Los Blancos have better cover in central defence, but as Luka Modric, potentially Toni Kroos and in the future Karim Benzema depart, Nacho will be part of a group taking with them expertise and ensuring standards are kept high.