It’s worth once again pointing out that just before Juanmi joined Southampton he’d been given his debut for the full Spanish national team. Things were on the up for the now 23 year old, but his move to the Saints sent everything tumbling back down again.
That’s not to blame Southampton, Ronald Koeman won’t have held the Spaniard back out of spite, but it quickly became clear that Juanmi needed to find an exit route. Claude Puel didn’t seem to be against the idea of a loan to Real Sociedad, and so it suited all involved.
Junami started the season getting games, but Spanish newspaper Marca reckon that’s only because other options were injured. Since September, he hasn’t had more than 20 minutes in a league match, and hasn’t found the net.
The lack of a La Liga goal isn’t so surprising when his minutes are totted up. For all of October and November, the Southampton owned player got a combined 55 league minutes.
What’s the point of the loan?
Well, it’s proving very useful for Real Sociedad, and they started Junami in their Copa del Rey match against second division Valladolid, and – hurrah – Junami scored twice in a 3-1 victory.
And last weekend he got 15 minutes against Barcelona and scored a wrongly disallowed goal.
So surely he starts the next match?
Not so surely, reckon Marca, but he has a good chance of doing so. A lot will depend on the fitness of others in the squad, and those preferred ahead of the Southampton loanee.
It seems a lovely situation for Real Sociedad to have. They have a loan player they’re probably paying a relative pittance for, hardly play him, and then after he scores a brace against a second division side, they can ponder if he’ll get a bigger scrap against La Liga strugglers, and shippers of many goals, Deportivo La Coruna on Monday.
If he does start, great. It would be a good chance to score again and cement some kind of place in the side. If he doesn’t, then the point of the loan, at least from Southampton’s perspective, is dragged further into doubt.
The Premier League club probably know Juanmi doesn’t have a future as a starter for them, what they don’t want to happen is for him to be seen in Spain as a perennial substitute, because that’s hardly likely to recoup a good fee.