Sunday, 9 August 2009

Antoine Griezmann The Teen Sensation!

Before i begin my update i would like to offer my deepest sympathies to the family, friends and team-mates of Espanyol club captain Daniel Jarque who died after he suffered a heart attack following a training session yesterday. My thoughts are with them at this sad time.

Moving onto the title of this update only a couple of weeks ago hardly any Real Sociedad supporters would have heard of Antoine Griezmann since he was in the youth set up and yet to even make the step up to Sanse however with 4 goals in 2 pre-season friendlies he is the talk of San Sebastian. The 18 year old French left winger has impressed everyone who seen him in the games against Anaitasuna and Barakaldo and he is very pleased to be given the chance to impress - "I am very pleased. Clearly i would like to stay with Real Sociedad but I am conscious that I am a youngster that is doing the pre-season with the first-team. I do not believe that have a place in the first team." So where has he came from? The answer is he arrived 4 years ago after a talent scout in France called Eric Olhats seen the potential in him to bring him to the youth setup at Real. Martin Lasarte was keen to keep everyone's feet on the ground by saying he does not want to push any of the youngsters training with the first team before they are ready and clearly thinks Griezmann has alot to do before he is ready to be seriously considered for the first team - "Converting four goals in 90 minutes is not a bad thing. We are in the presence of a good project, but only that", he declared.

Griezmann is in the Real squad to play their 3rd pre-season friendly tonight against newly promoted Tenerife at the Estadio Los Cuartos. The game will be a great test for the lads as they look to keep the momentum going in the build up to the Real Madrid game. After this they play Eibar on the 12th August then Real Madrid at Anoeta on 15th August. The big team news is Imanol Agirretxe has recovered from injury and should play tonight. Real Sociedad squad -

Bravo, Zubikarai, Dani Estrada, Mikel González, Labaka, Ansotegi, Sarasola, De la Bella, Xabi Prieto, Elustondo, Markel, Zurutuza, Illarramendi, Rivas, Johnatan Estrada, Griezmann, Nsue, Agirretxe and Viguera.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Real Sociedad Transfer Updates

In this update i would like to report on the latest recruits to join txuri urdin this summer so far.

Firstly the man to replace the departed Castillo in the left back position will be Alberto de la Bella who signed from Sevilla Atletico. The full back spoke this week of his surprise in San Sebastián at the passion the fans in the street have for the club and the fact the entire city has a massive desire to be in the top flight again. He also stated he wasn't coming to the club expecting to be first choice in the left back position and mentioned Iñigo Sarasola will provide good competition for him. He also feels the disappointing season he had last year getting relegated will have improved him as a player and is confident this will be a great year. After seeing him in action last season on a couple of occasions i believe Real have a very solid player and am looking forward to seeing him improve in a Real Sociedad shirt.

Next up is striker Emilio Nsue who has signed on loan for the season from Real Mallorca. The 19 year old spent last season on loan to CD Castellón and scored 7 goals in 38 appearances so should bolster the strikeforce after we were light in that department last season. He is a Spanish under 21 international and has represented Spain at various youth levels. His father is from Equatorial Guinea and rejected the chance to play for the national team choosing to represent Spain instead.

I updated a couple of weeks ago about the prospect of Uruguyan sriker Carlos Bueno joining and the move is now much closer with the club expected to finalise his contract and the player to complete a medical in the next few days. The player is in Spain at the moment which is another positive sign but won't train with his new team-mates until a deal is done. Imanol Agirretxe has spoken about the exciting prospect of having having healthy competition for places up front next season with the prospect of having himself, Borja Viguera, Emilio Nsue and the possibility of Carlos Bueno being very healthy for the club.

Three players from Sanse (Real Sociedad B) expected to make an impression this season are Iñigo Sarasola, Iosu Esnaola and Borja Viguera and all are desperate to do well if featured during the pre-season friendlies. As mentioned earlier Iñigo Sarasola will be hoping to give Alberto de la Bella competition at left back after making his debut 2 years ago while Chris Coleman was Manager but barely featured under Lillo. Viguero is a promising striker and has done very well for Sanse over the last couple of seasons.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Xabi Castillo Now Joining Athletic Bilbao?

After it seemed almost certain Xabi Castillo would be joining Racing Santander its been reported in the Spanish media that Xabi Castillo could make a sensational move to Athletic Bilbao and follow in the footsteps of Iñigo Díaz de Cerio. Athletic are looking for a left back and have been linked with Manchester City's former Real Sociedad full back Javier Garrido and Osasuna's Ignacio Monreal although from speaking to some Athletic fans the general opinion is Monreal would be the preferred option. Saying that reports are saying Athletic are in advanced talks with Castillo and could announce the signing any day as current left back Mikel Balenziaga isn't really ready for the first team yet and there has also been rumours Real Sociedad could take Balenziaga on loan as part of the deal - we will see!

Another player that could eventually be wearing the white and red of Athletic Bilbao is Mikel González. His contract expires next June and Real are miles away from agreeing a new deal. This has alerted Athletic to the possibility of signing him for free next summer as the lure of Liga BBVA football and better money dangles like a carrot over the central defender. The only other player not to have signed a new deal is full back Carlos Martínez however a deal will be done once Real have finished their dealings in the transfer market this summer.

Real Sociedad will kick off the 2009/10 season away to Las Palmas on 30th August after the fixtures were announced yesterday. The full schedule can be found at Soccer Spain.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Real Sociedad Could Move For Carlos Bueno

Spanish newspaper Marca have reported new coach Martín Lasarte could make Carlos Bueno the man to fire Real Sociedad to promotion next season. Like Sebastian Abreu before him, Carlos Bueno is a Uruguayan International striker with 27 caps and 16 goals to his name. The forward currently plays for Peñarol in his native Uruguay netting 10 times in 14 games for the club he started his career with. In his first spell he scored 73 times in 135 games before trying his luck in Europe with Paris Saint-Germain. This move didn't work out well for him where he barely featured at all only making 12 appearances and not managing to score at all. He was then loaned to Sporting Lisbon for the 2006-07 season and although he struggled to make an impact again, he did manage to score 4 goals in 20 minutes in a February 3, 2007 match against C.D. Nacional in which Sporting won 5-1, this after only playing the final 30 minutes of the game! If reports are to believed then both clubs are keen for a deal to be done and are deep in negotiations. I will of course update as soon as their is any news of a deal being done.

Another striker that Real have been linked to today is Rubén Castro. The Deportivo de La Coruña striker spent last season on loan to SD Huesca and scored 14 goals in 41 games and was pivotal in their efforts to avoid relegation. There are other teams however that are also chasing the player including Elche, Murcia, Cadiz and newly promoted Zaragoza and Xerez so competition for the player is big.

The club were hoping to be parading Johnatan Estrada as their first summer signing but this has been delayed due to the player not receiving his visa yet. I understand the deal is done and dusted and the player only has to follow formalities so it shouldn't be long before he is paraded to the fans.

The video below shows the 4 goals Carlos Bueno scored in one match for Sporting Lisbon.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Real Sociedad To Play Real Madrid

It was announced yesterday that star studded Real Madrid will visit Anoeta on 15th August to honour the centenary of Real Sociedad. It has also been revealed the visitors will not be charging a penny to play in a fantastic gesture to the cash strapped club and any much needed money raised will be kept by Real Sociedad. Real Madrid have agreed to bring a full strength squad to San Sebastian so hopefully the likes of Kaka and Christiano Ronaldo will feature. It could also potentially see the return of former favourite Xabi Alonso as he is heavily tipped to make a move to Real Madrid sooner or later. No doubt he would receive a warm reception after many happy years with the club during which he was idolised by the fans.

In other news its been reported Xabi Castillo's next club could be Liga BBVA side Deportivo La Coruna after their coach Lotina expressed a desire to sign him. The players contract expired on June 30th so is free to join who he likes but until recently it was Glasgow Celtic who were favourites to sign the player. Lateley English club West Bromwich Albion had thrown their name into the ring.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Díaz de Cerio Joins Athletic Bilbao

Iñigo Díaz de Cerio was unveiled as a Athletic Bilbao player today after his Real Sociedad contract officially ended yesterday and has signed on for 4 years with a 50 million euro buy out clause. The player thanked Athletic Club for trusting him after having been sidelined for most of the 2008-9 season due to an injury. It will be a bitter pill for Real fans to swallow with the deep rivalry between the two clubs but Iñigo was keen to show his appreciation to his former club at his press conference. He says he has only "words of gratitude" for Real and tried his best for the club from day one. He said he had joined a very important club in the Spanish League and it was important to be at a club with economic stability - something Real lacks. "I am 25 years old, I am in a key moment of my career and this presented me the opportunity to return to First Division, with the added incentive of the European competition. The economic theme weighs a lot, the sports one also, and the personnel, because I am going to be able to continue in the Basque Country with the family". He went on to say he wasn't sure yet if he would be ready to return to action at the start of the season but is ready to be patient and not rush things as he looks to avoid any setbacks with his injury.

In other news midfielder Gorka Elustundo has been talking about his excitement for next season as he looks to put an injury ravaged season behind him. Martin Lasarte has made it clear Elustundo will be a massive player for Real Sociedad next season. "I go very happy on my holidays, because I have felt again like a footballer. After many months of suffering, I have been able to help the team and I have not noted any inconveniences. Already I am excited about the pre-season. The renewal of my contract until June 30, 2013 has been the perfect cherry and a reason more to return in July with a lot desires".

Monday, 22 June 2009

Elche 1-2 Real Sociedad

A last minute winner from comeback kid Gorka Elustundo ended Real Sociedad's season on a high and gave Coach Lillo a good end to his tenure after the bitter disappointment of failing to get promotion. Incredibly the win means that txuri urdin finished with more points away from home than at the Anoeta - something that will need to change next season for sure. Both sides struggled to find any fluency to their game in the first half as the stifling heat took its toll. Elche took the lead on 41 minutes through Santos and it was a weary looking Real side that trudged off the pitch.

The second half was only 2 minutes old when a lively Agirretxe scored at the second attempt to cap an impressive season from him. In the final half an hour the game opened up and both teams had chances to score the winner but it was if the script had been written for Elustundo to score the winner after enduring a nightmare season through injury. On 89 minutes he scored and looked delighted with it. All the players rushed to congradulate him and rightly so as he not only completed a full 90 minutes he looked very assured throughout the 90 minutes and will be a huge player for Real next season if he can stay fit.

Elche: Willy Caballero, Oscar Rubio, Zubiaurre, Olmo, Amaya, Acciari, Usero Santos (Fernando Niño, 90 mins), Dani Benítez, Miguel (Saul, 79 mins), Rubén Pérez (Wakasa, 60 mins)

Real Sociedad: Ramirez, Gerardo, Carlos Martínez, Mikel González (Ansotegi, 80 mins), Castillo, Ros, Elustondo, Moha (Alain Eizmendi, 68 mins), Xabi Prieto, Marcos and Agirretxe (Viguera, 85 mins).

So another season is finished and ultimately its been a very poor one to say the least. Too many times (especially at home) the team looked, at best, average. Marcos and Prieto looked dangerous down the flanks but too often the final pass let them down. The injury to de Cerio certainly never helped matters and his replacement Necati wasn't the goal machine us fans expected him to be but he can't be faulted on his commitment to the cause, its just a shame he couldn't have scored more than one solitary goal and he would have been a fans favourite for sure. Boukary Dramé was a strange signing from Lillo for me cos i'm sure he must have seen him play before taking him on loan. I believe (and i could be wrong) he only started 1 game for the club all season which beggars belief in my eyes. I can only assume he was rubbish in training since i never actually seen him play!! I will be following the comings and goings with great interest during the summer as these will be key to our chances next season. With Abreu gone im particularly looking forward to seeing who Martín Lasarte brings in to get the goals next season. If readers of this site hear or see any tranfer rumours over the next couple of months please feel free to post them as i will no doubt miss some of them!!

I would like to end this post by revealing who i think has been player of the seson - Sebastián Abreu! With 11 goals in 18 games he gets my vote with his all action displays and key goals. His magnificent hat-trick against league leaders Xerez was outstanding and the highlight of the season for me. If anyone doesn't agree with this choice then again, please post a comment. Martín Lasarte was officially presented to the media and fans today and i personally have high hopes for him next season. I hope he can get us out this league at the 3rd time of asking and get us back with the big boys where we belong!