His best position is at the tip of a midfield four and he works like a dog. Modric has now arrived at Madrid, could Granero be going the other way to Tottenham?
Who is he?
If Esteban Granero wasn’t one of the dwindling number of players at Real Madrid who was brought up in the youth system, you sense that the 25-year-old would be turning out for another club. Instead, the midfielder plays for the team that re-signed him in 2009 after two seasons at Getafe, with Florentino Pérez looking to appease fans who wanted less Galactico, more homegrown names in the dressing room.
The creative midfielder is very much a squad player for José Mourinho who tends to use the Madrid-born footballer as an understudy for Xabi Alonso. However, that position looks like being taken in the new season by the newly-signed Luka Modric, seeing Granero potentially becoming a very transferable footballer.
Granero’s curly hair and beard gave the footballer the nickname of ‘the Pirate’. The Madrid man is much more at home in the city’s more bohemian La Latina district then the fancy-pants places preferred by his more illustrious colleagues. As a student of psychology who speaks good English, fitting into a new club and culture in England is something would not be a problem for one of the most down-to-earth, likable, level-headed footballers in Spain.
Granero is a player who looked excellent at a small club like Getafe and looks decent but perhaps a bit out of his depth at a whopper like Madrid. What the midfielder needs to do now is realise this and become a very good player at a very good club and reach his full potential.
Granero is very much a seven-out-of-ten a match footballer. He is a versatile, creative midfielder who can play through the centre or out on the wings. It is this ability to play a variety or roles that drew praise from Mourinho after he dropped him for a league game in March. “It pained me to leave Granero in the stands against Real Sociedad as nobody works as much as he does,” admitted the Madrid manager. “Granero’s natural position is in a 4-4-2 system within a diamond schematic. There is no one better at Real Madrid in that position. He is physically fit, intelligent and has a great heart. He always wants to help the team.”
Although selflessness can hardly be considered a weakness, it is Granero’s willingness to play any role, at any time in the centre of the park that sees the midfielder as being unable to stake a permanent place in the team at Madrid. ‘The Pirate’ is very much a jack of all trades but master at none.
Chances of signing him
It’s very much a matter of whether the midfielder wants a move. Despite making just eight starts in La Liga, last season, Granero seems quite content to be a squad player for the club, which is a bit of shame as he is a much better player than that and deserves the chance to prove it. White Hart Lane could be the perfect arena for him to do so.
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