After finishing 12th in the 2014-15 La Liga season, it’s been onwards and upwards for Real Sociedad ever since. In 2015-16 they finished 9th, and last season they were the surprise European qualifiers after finishing 6th, only eight points back from Sevilla in Spain’s final Champions League spot.
Sociedad have been placed with Zenit, Rosenborg and Vardar in Europa League group play, and the club has every right to believe they can make a serious impact in the competition and even improve on their La Liga finish.
The Basque club had a number of standout performers last term, but only left back Yuri Berchiche has left the side — Paris Saint-Germain purchased him for $17 million. Sociedad has confirmed that Barcelona have approached the club over 26-year-old center half Inigo Martinez, but La Real manager Eusebio Sacristan is hopeful that the club will manage to keep its core intact for another season.
“For us, he is a very important player, extraordinary, and of a level that we all know. It’s very good that we have him with us. There have been a lot of rumors regarding our players. In a way this is good and normal that, following a good season, clubs are monitoring our players who have a high level.
“We are vulnerable to the more powerful clubs when they decide, at some point, to come and get our players. Thankfully only Yuri [Berchiche] has left the club. I hope we can count on the rest once the transfer window closes.”
Sociedad players being monitored by other clubs certainly include 25-year-old Brazilian forward Willian Jose (12 goals last season), 24-year-old attacking midfielder Juanmi (11 goals) and 20-year-old winger Mikel Oyarzabal (seven assists).
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Alongside veterans like Xabi Prieto, David Zurutuza and Asier Illarramendi, Sociedad have an extremely promising squad this season. They’ve also added Diego Llorente from Real Madrid and Adnan Januzaj from Manchester United in the summer.
Sociedad have opened La Liga with two impressive victories — they defeated Celta Vigo 3-2 at the Balaidos before sinking Villarreal 3-0 at home, sending them to the top of the table for the time being.
If Sociedad can keep its squad together through this transfer window, they have a real chance at challenging for the top four in Spain. If they accomplish that feat, the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico, Barcelona and the financial might of the Premier League will absolutely dismantle them next summer, but at least we’ll be treated to one magical season in San Sebastian.