All signs point to Kubo officially joining Villarreal on loan from Real Madrid, so, what kind of player are we getting for a year? The simple answer is competition for Chukwueze on the right wing. This has all sorts of other roster implications for us. For instance, if we are keeping Chukwueze while bringing in Kubo then that probably means we won’t see Gerard as a right winger. If Gerard isn’t playing on the right, that means Paco probably isn’t starting up top. Paco not starting up top probably means there’s really no playing time available for Bacca, etc.
Kubo is an interesting player. Considering how much more offensively limited Mallorca was than Villarreal, his per 90 metrics actually stack up to Chukwueze really well:
Kubo may well be the better player of the two. If we end up selling Samu, I don’t really see there being any decline in output from that role in the squad. If we keep Samu, then we have a fresh, electric player at the hour mark ready no matter which of the two starts. For Mallorca, Kubo drifted inside some in the attacking third but mostly stayed in his channel, which you can see in this chart tracing all his actions on the pitch this season. If Gerard and Kubo are the two options at RW, you could see them as Gerard being a forward who cuts inside while Kubo is one who provides width, and depending on the opponent one or the other might be more needed.
I’m not ecstatic about a Kubo loan, but I’d rather loan in Kubo than pay four times as much money signing Oscar Rodriguez. I think Kubo is the better open field player and I think he gives us a lot of options in terms of lineup flexibility. In just a few weeks we’ll see him on the pitch and I can’t wait to see what Emery does with him.