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Report: Take Kubo considers leaving Villarreal

It seems like Real Madrid have unsettled their own player.

Villarreal CF v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Miguel Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A few weeks ago, Real Madrid could not keep their nose out of Villarreal’s business, and leaked to the media their displeasure with Take Kubo’s playing time. Now, according to reports in the Spanish media, the player himself is considering leaving Villarreal. This entire thing feels to me like a spoiled child at school where the the teacher’s attempts to instill discipline and pass on lessons is being undermined by a parent who thinks their child can do no wrong. I don’t blame Kubo for this, I blame Real Madrid for not backing the process their player is a part of at Villarreal.

Unai Emery has been very publicly supportive of Kubo at every turn, and has reportedly taken time to work with the player individually, This has produced improvement in Kubo’s play, which we covered in depth in the ‘related’ links you’ll see below.

Despite this improvement, there are still crippling problems in Kubo’s game for a La Liga level. Compared to other attacking midfielders and wingers in the top five leagues, Kubo is in the 15th percentile for giving away possession per 90 minutes, and 9.85% of all this touches end with him losing the ball (the numbers are worse when you look at just his La Liga minutes). That’s completely unacceptable. Frankly, if Kubo isn’t up to the challenge of learning discipline and earning a spot at Villarreal, I don’t see how he thinks he’s ever going to make it with Real Madrid’s first team.

Another complicating factor in Kubo’s attempts to gain playing time is the rise of Yeremi Pino from the youth ranks at Villarreal. Good performances in the Europa League led to Pino being preferred to Kubo when it came time to make substitutions against Madrid this past weekend. Pino has some of the same weaknesses Kubo does, but overall there’s not enough of a qualitative difference between the two for Emery to prefer the loanee over his own academy product.

My position on Kubo remains the same. He’s a very young player who certainly needs experience, but the very best thing for his career right now would be to stay and fight for a place at Villarreal. He needs us worse than we need him, because Unai Emery and his staff provide the kind of structure that will force Take to get better, instead of just letting him have his way playing inefficient football.

Update: A Real Madrid Fanzine has claimed that the reports that Kubo ‘asked to leave’ are fake and that Take and his advisors don’t know the reporter. As you’ll of course notice, the original report never said that Kubo asked to leave. It’s also worth noting that this particular Real Madrid Fanzine has had its English Language account suspended by Twitter. Do with it what you will.