Imanol is looking for a substitute for Merino in Mendizorroza

Difficult dilemma for Imanol Sheriff. ¿Who will he choose to replace the important absence of Mikel Merino in the visit to Mendizorroza this Thursday?? The Navarrese midfielder saw the fifth yellow against Osasuna and is out for a penalty during the week. It is an indisputable piece for the Real Sociedad coach, a player who pivots almost the entire game txuri-urdin, who it gives balance because it defends, distributes and at the same time has arrival from the second line. While all eyes are on other, perhaps more flashy, players, Merino does that dirty job, less brilliantly but just as effectively, becoming a key man on the down-to-earth career this season. Its growth since arriving at the Royal has been undoubted, and it can be said that Imanol has a serious problem in the midfield to visit Alavés this Thursday.

All in all, the depth of the bench that Real has this year allows the coach from Oriotarra to be calmer. Although the losses of Ander Guevara and Luca Sangalli take away possibilitiesOn the horizon, other options appear that should give the same confidence as Merino, but whose prolonged inactivity makes his entry into the starting eleven doubt. The most logical option was that of Asier Illarramendi, the captain of Real, but once he recovered from the serious injury suffered at the end of August last year, it has unfortunately been re-injured so it is an important door that closes. Sheriff had praised his work last week, and he had a good chance.

Without Illarramendi, all eyes are on David Zurutuza. A good option to occupy the Merino site. In fact, by characteristics it could even be the closest thing to the realistic template. But his prolonged inactivity also leads us to think that we must also go cautiously with his return to the playing fields. For desire and motivation it will not be, because Zuru faces the last ten games with Real, and his clear desire is to say goodbye on the pitch. His experience can help him to fill his possible physical deficit caused by the long recovery time he has gone through.

And from there the alternatives that the prolific quarry of the Royal Society always provide appear. Of the 'foals' that have been training since the first day of football's return with the first squad, the most solid profile is that of Martín Zubimendi, who has already debuted in Primera leaving good feelings, and that would bring packaging to the midfield, something he usually does in the subsidiary. Although perhaps the most offensive option is to put another pure playmaker like Roberto López to play near Martin Odegaard. The hand always leaves glimpses of quality in training at Zubieta, he also knows what it is to play with the first team, and he seems ready to take the leap and give him a chance. Ultimately there may be the figure of Robert Navarro, the attacker signed by Monaco last year to finish his training in Zubieta and whose quality is undeniable, although it still lacks something to finish maturing. The problem is that in his case he has trained less with the first team these days than his other two teammates. These are the options that Imanol is considering to replace Mikel Merino in Vitoria, unless he decides to change the system and has other variants in mind.