Monday, June 25, 2018

Imanol Agirretxe: The unsung hero of Real Sociedad

The unsung hero of Real Sociedad / Image via

The unsung hero of Real Sociedad / Image via

It has been an eventful La Liga season for Real Sociedad so far.

The events have not perhaps been the most positive ones, but one can’t argue with the fact that the San Sebastian club have kept their fans on the edge for most part of the campaign.

High hopes that were invested primarily in David Moyes as the recognized leader of the new wave have been met with a thorough disappointment, and the club owners were quick to part ways with the Scott after only a couple of months into the new season.

Eusebio Sacristan failed to create an immediate impact and make a swift change in pace. Inconsistency has been the problem for the Royals throughout, and 4 wins, as many draws and seven defeats are there to provide proof.

Friday’s La Liga round 15 opener at Getafe ended in a somewhat disappointing 1-1 draw for the visiting fans, but the point was secured and Sociedad stayed above their hosts which might be the only positive aspect of the game.

Amid the inconsistent first part of the season, one thing, one person actually, remains a solid constant.

Imanol Agirretxe hit the target again, his goal against Getafe followed the last Sunday’s match winning brace against Eibar. The 28-year-old tapped in a leveller on 67 minutes, thus saving his team from a certain defeat against Getafe.

The Spanish striker has now netted the total of 12 goals in 13 La Liga appearances, bagging the huge majority of Real Sociedad’s 17 goals. One goal behind Luis Suarez and two adrift of the league’s top scorer Neymar, Imanol Agirretxe has been one of the most positive surprises in the Spanish top tier.

Real Sociedad captain Xabi Prieto was full of praise for his teammate, whose form hasn’t been unnoticed by the media and public in general.

“He can score 20 goals this season. We’ll try to help him and to help score points, I want to try and contribute more, but fortunately Imanol is on a roll”, Xabi Prieto told Marca.

The unsung hero of San Sebastian wasn’t always under the limelight in his club. Every summer Real Sociedad is rummaging the market in search of a striker who can be compatible with Carlos Vela as the most exposed striker in the media.

Search for the one player who will contribute to the goalscoring exploits and lift the team to the top half of the table has been utterly disappointing though.

The Royals tried with Haris Seferovic in 2013, but the Swiss international scored merely four goals in his 40 appearances for the club. In 2014 along came Alfred Finnbogason, the Icelandic striker who had the exact tally of four goals in 31 games for Real Sociedad.

And, finally, the Brazilian Jonathas was added to the squad this year.

Having scored 14 goals for Elche last term, the 26-year-old forward has perhaps been the greatest disappointment with his one goal in 11 games for Real Sociedad.

The club spent the total more than €18 million on the transfers of these three players, who came nowhere close to the man singlehandedly leading the Royals – Imanol Agirretxe.

The product of the renowned youth club Antiguoko, Agirretxe started his career playing for the local rivals Athletic Bilbao in 2001. Two years later he went to Real Sociedad, still as a young boy. He waited for his chance. Having plied his trade in Real Sociedad B, Imanol made his full debut in 2005.

Since then, the Spanish forward has seen a steady rise in his playing time and in his scoring tally for the club from San Sebastian.

Irreplaceable in the first team since 2011/12 season, Agirretxe repaid for the trust and confidence with goals, having netted ten times. Next season has been his best so far. Imanol scored 13 games in 32 appearances, but the current season will without a grain of doubt become his most prolific one.

A powerful player with great physique for a striker, Imanol Agirretxe boasts a fantastic areal ability, along with his impressive capability to position himself in the box.

Should Imanol Agirretxe continue with his fantastic run, Vicente del Bosque should definitely reconsider his decision over the 28-year-old striker, who he describes as ‘too old’ for the national team.

With Diego Costa, Paco Alcacer and Alvaro Morata all currently struggling in the goalscoring department, Real Sociedad striker might turn out to be the solution for Del Bosque’s Euro 2016 dilemmas.

The lad has most certainly deserved a chance to get out of the radar and step up on the biggest stage and to make his Spain debut in the climax of his career.


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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