Well, it’s finally done: Takefusa Kubo is no longer a Villarreal player. Real Madrid have terminated his loan deal, and he is now off to the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, in Getafe, near his parent club, Real Madrid. I would’ve loved to see him become one of the important players at Villarreal, but frankly speaking, there are so many other talented players in this Villarreal side, that I knew that the only way for Kubo to succeed at this club would be to give his all every time he stepped on the pitch. That’s something that he didn’t do. Well, if he did, then it didn’t look like it.
It didn’t start off particularly well for him. He got very, very few minutes from his first few cameos in a yellow shirt. But he did start in every single Europa League game. Judging by those performances, I think it’s fair to say that Kubo showed sparks of talent, but those sparks remained sparks. He was really inconsistent throughout this loan spell. It’s not just because Unai Emery kept playing him in different positions. While that was a factor, consider this: His substitute appearance vs Elche, one of his best games in a Villarreal shirt. Next game, he earns a start, he plays at that same position. Now, he’s a bystander. It’s not like the defense was particularly trying really hard to cover him. He wasn’t trying hard enough to be of good use. I don’t know what it was. Whether he just flipped a switch when he wanted to play well or something, but it wasn’t normal for a player that needs to perform well in the limited minutes that he got. Like I’ve said in previous editions, he was acting like a guaranteed starter, while in reality, he was far from it.
All of that is not to say that he didn’t have his moments at the club. Or, that he’s not ‘good enough’. He is an immensely talented player, and Real Madrid brought him here from Japan for a reason, didn’t they? It showed in the first Europa League game against Sivasspor, the second game against Qarabag, the third against Maccabi Tel Aviv. The game against Elche in La Liga. These four games alone should get Getafe fans excited about what is (potentially) to come from the Japanese prodigy. It all depends on where José Bordalás wants him to play. I don’t think him playing on the left flank is a possibility, given Cucurella’s presence and importance. Unless Cucurella gets injured or rested. It’s an interesting case. I’ll keep a close eye on him at The Real Champs if you want to continue tracking his development with me.
Finally, would I say this loan deal was a total failure? No, not really. Whether Kubo got minutes or not, he still learned a lot from the whole experience. He must have. He has gotten tougher since his arrival at the club. He’s not just bullied off the ball anymore. He fights for the ball when he has it.
He must have realized that being handed the keys to the attack is something that can’t be done at every club. It happened when he was at Mallorca. It didn’t at Villarreal because of the sheer differences in quality and competition. It’s probably not going to happen at Getafe either. They’re a very disciplined and well-structured side and I doubt Bordalás is going to let the kid run the whole offense without paying attention to positional awareness, and defense. Oh, that reminds me: As the season progressed, his defensive contributions increased significantly. He came back to support the defense more often, he stayed in his position while pressing.
All in all, even though it was an overall failure, it can be said that Kubo learned a lot. I hope the thing he learned most is his lack of consistency. I know it’s a problem with every youngster, but this much inconsistency is not good. One of the main differences between young players who became great players, and young players who could’ve been great players, is that they worked on being consistent. They kept on improving, they worked on the things that they were not good at. That’s what makes great players. If Kubo wants to be one, that’s what he needs to take care of.
He also needs to work on being efficient and consistent while playing a certain role, because top clubs don’t allow players to do whatever they want in the attack like Mallorca did. Well, when they do, it’s usually with players like Messi.
Wait, players like Messi? But, there’s no one like Messi.
Kubo’s time will definitely come. It’s just going to need a bit more polishing, a bit more consistency, a bit more work and a little bit of time until we see the end product. But trust me, those ‘sparks’ I mentioned? This kid really is something else. He just needs to show that on a regular basis.