Close observers of La Liga will know that Real Sociedad are undoubtedly one of, if not the, best run clubs in Spain. The Txuri-Urdin are often referred to as the team you wished you supported these days, and it’s pretty hard to argue with that.
On a consistent upward trajectory over the past five years since Imanol Alguacil took the reins, La Real have qualified for Europe in every full season he has been in charge, and last campaign finally made it to the holy grail of the Champions League, after picking up their first trophy in three decades on the way.
It is a fair question to ask – how exactly do they go up from here? No doubt La Real will tell you that just remaining in the Champions League places would be a major success, and they would be right. The Txuri-Urdin do not have the same resources as Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid or Barcelona, and it will take many years of Champions League finishes before that changes – although if you think they will make it this year, head to a site like https://spelpressen.se/casino-reportage/casino-utan-svensk-licens.
Even so, before the international break, Real Sociedad were a couple of interesting penalty calls separated from a point away to Atletico, and competed on a level with Los Colchoneros. At the Santiago Bernabeu, they were the better side for around 55 minutes, led by an inspired Takefusa Kubo, who now looks like one of the best forwards in Europe – he sits joint-second in the scoring charts.
Yet as Mikel Oyarzabal demonstrated with his finish against Atletico, he looks increasingly like his best self, nearly 18 months on from his anterior cruciate ligament injury which has hindered him for some time. It’s worth remebering that at his best, Oyarzabal was beginning to be mentioned as a €70m value signing for the Premier League.
Kubo has a release clause of €60m, and even that looks reasonable currently. The difference for Alguacil will be that if he has two attacking stars, rather than just relying on one, it could elevate the Txuri-Urdin to the next level. Their competitors for the top four are attempting to make up ground as it is, but their key rivals generally rely on one or two major players to see them through tricky moments.
For La Real, it will be about putting distance between themselves and fifth place this season and next rather than catching Atletico, and jumping up a category. Their issue over recent seasons has been reliable firepower, but if Kubo and Oyarzabal can change that, then Real Sociedad could be the next major force in Spain.