Jesus Vallejo, the 21-year-old Spanish center back, who less than 18 months ago was setting the Bundesliga alight, is now a forgotten man in Julen Lopetegui’s squad. The severity of Vallejo’s situation can be told in numbers: 12 matches in the past 14 months. He has only made one match day squad. Even against the Albania’s Under-21s on Thursday night, Jesus Vallejo found himself on the bench; all reports suggested he would start. Many have forecasted Vallejo to be the future of Madrid’s backline, but his injury record has held him back. Time and time again, his hamstrings seem to give out. Despite being initially well thought of by Lopetegui—he was one of the young players included by the ex-Spanish national team coach to form as part of the preliminary World Cup squad, training with the senior side prior to the team traveling to Russia—a huge vote of confidence from the manager. All indications pointed to Vallejo having a bigger role this season, especially if Lopetegui opted to introduce a formation with three center-backs, which he had done a numerous occasions with Spain, but has yet to be seen with Los Blancos.
Reports from Spanish outlet Marca now suggest that Madrid is looking for another top tier center back to compete with Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane. A loan move to Real Sociedad nearly formulated this summer for Vallejo, but both he and the club opted to reject the offer and fight for minutes. Vallejo was captain of Real Zaragoza at 18 and is regarded for having a maturity level well past his young age. His mental fortitude will be his greatest ally as he awaits his debut this season. With Ramos, Varane, and Nacho gobbling up all minutes at the center back position, Vallejo may get just one golden opportunity all season, and he will have to take it or come to terms with a potential move away from the Bernabeu.