Takefusa Kubo’s rollercoaster journey in football started when he was spotted as an eight year old playing in a FC Barcelona Soccer Camp in Japan. Barcelona continued to track his progress and invited him to join La Masia when he was only 10.
But his fairytale start was halted when Barca were hit with FIFA sanctions that prevented them from playing him for four years - until he turned 18. Kubo was forced to return to Japan, where he stayed grounded and worked his way up through the Japanese Professional League with FC Tokyo.
In the summer of 2019, as soon as Kubo was about to turn 18, interest from Europe resurfaced and he decided to move to Real Madrid. Despite featuring regularly under Zinedine Zidane during pre-season, the winger was unable to book a spot in the squad.
High potential talents attract the attention of the biggest teams in the world and get opportunities not available to most players. But on the flip side, if the player is unable to break through immediately, they can face a period of stagnation with limited senior minutes and multiple spells out on loan.
Such was the case with Kubo, who, after having unsuccessful loan spells with different La Liga clubs over the next three seasons, decided to break this loop and made a permanent move to Real Sociedad.
Last season, the 22-year-old played a pivotal role in helping La Real to their highest league finish in over a decade. Now, the Champions League will provide an opportunity to showcase his talent on arguably the biggest stage in club football, and his scintillating start to the current campaign shows that he is ready to take that next step.
Takefusa Kubo’s Transfer Value - how much is he worth?
According to FootballTransfer’s player valuation model, Kubo has a current Expected Transfer Value (xTV) of €27.2m. That value was just over €10m when he joined Sociedad, which highlights his progress and rapid rise since moving to Sociadad.
The transfer market seems to highly value ball carrying wingers who are good in 1-v-1 situations. We have just seen Jérémy Doku, another talented young winger who fits that profile, transfer for €60m.
If Kubo can stay consistent with his performances, there is little doubt that he too will demand a fee in that range. This would prove to be a huge win for Madrid, who have retained 50% of his playing rights.
Takefusa Kubo’s strengths and weaknesses - what does the data say?
Kubo has thrived under Imanol Alguacil’s system, where he has finally been afforded the freedom to express himself. Playing the majority of his minutes starting as an inverted winger on the right side of a fluid front three, he has a tendency to cut inside to get on his stronger left foot.
Although he does not have enough involvement in the opposition penalty box to stand out as a centre forward, he can be a very capable second striker.
Don’t be thrown off by his 1.73 metre frame. Kubo’s low centre of gravity makes him hard to dispossess even under pressure. He also has the trickery, acceleration and close control to beat players in 1-v-1 situations.
His 2.44 carries into the penalty area per 90 put him in the top 9% of wingers in La Liga, and is a clear indication of using that ability to frequently get into dangerous positions in the opposition half. When the diminutive player gets into these positions, he has the vision and creativity to create chances for his teammates.
Finishing is an area he has gotten better at with each passing year, and is now listed as one of his strengths by WhoScored. His overperformance compared to his Expected Goals (xG) over the past year is a testament to that. Defensively he presses well and is willing to track back to help his team in transition.
This season, the Japanese International has registered a higher number for Expected Assists (xA), passes into final 3rd and carries per 90 compared to last. Although there are area’s he can improve on, WhoScored currently report no clear weaknesses in his game.
For a while it looked like Kubo would never be able to establish himself among the best in his position, but his resilience has taken him to a point where he just might.
This article was provided by FootballTransfers