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The case for Reinier Jesus’s return to Castilla

As we approach the winter transfer window and a rumored end to Reinier Jesus’s failed loan spell at Borussia Dortmund, one can fantasize about an alternate reality. One where the Brazilian’s strong start to life at the reserves (where he scored 2 goals in three matches) convince the club to keep him close instead of loaning him out. Where Reinier provides an extra piece of star power to Raul’s push to last season’s playoffs and where the 19-year-old would have been at the Valdebebas when Zinedine Zidane was looking to Castilla to cover for an injury crisis earlier this year.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. However, one didn’t need to be clairvoyant to have seen Reinier’s loan panning out as it did. When it comes to Real Madrid loans, success is the exception rather than the rule. Javi Sanchez, Jorge de Frutos, Borja Mayoral, Andriy Lunin and Take Kubo are just a few of the promising names that suffered similarly poor loan spells away from the club with plenty more littered in the Whites recent history. There are good reasons for why loan moves fail -a topic I’m sure the Loan Tracker podcast covers in much better detail than this article will- and its rarely a reflection of a player’s potential or quality. In my eyes, Real Madrid are often guilty of putting too much value on first division minutes over potential fit and momentum.

Reinier Jesus had been in Europe just a few months before he was shipped off to Dortmund. Neither the Spanish or German club really knew what the youngster was going to bring to table in one of the world’s top flight leagues nor how he’d adapt to a new continent and lifestyle. It should also come as no surprise that top division teams loan in players with their own priorities and objectives, which often don’t align with what Real Madrid offer players out for. Dortmund have no incentive to develop Reinier unless he makes an instant difference to their fortunes, something Real Madrid clearly don’t expect him to be capable of doing by loaning him out in the first place.

Now we come to a place where the Brazilian’s stock is at an all time low. The club are unlikely to recoup the 30 million that was spent bringing him to Spain in the first place and probably going to struggle to find many suitors, even for a loan spell. Whether there is a long term vision for Jesus still is neither here nor there, the club are likely to be stuck with him when he escapes Germany and, perhaps, the best option on the table is a return to Castilla.

Raul’s Castilla are having a text book example of an average season. Sitting 10th in the 20 team table, the reserves have lacked the guile and exuberance that made them such a force last season. The decision to keep many of last year’s stalwarts has helped the senior side at times this year, but has largely looked like a hinderance to the reserves. Barring Sergio Arribas, the spine of this side looks stale and ready for a new challenge. The club has nothing to lose and it all to gain by throwing Reinier Jesus into the mix and hoping he recaptures that spark he showed when he first arrived two years ago.

At his best, the former Flamengo man was the best Brazilian to play for Castilla, a fact he made clear right from the off. He was physical, direct and effective in front of goal. He took the Spanish third division completely in stride, which is a highly impressive feat given how many other great players intially struggled. One could argue that Jesus would be difficult to accommodate and would stifle the development of other youngsters. To this, I would say that the club stifled the development of last season’s generation of U-19 stars by keeping the likes of Arribas, Blanco and Miguel around and throwing Reinier into that mix isn’t going to change much in terms of development this season.

As for potential fit, Raul has gotten alot of joy out of physically dominant players up front and, though not Reinier’s position by trade, he has the skillset to get some joy from that position. Such a move would bump Juan Latasa out of the lineup and, though undeserved, it would be a worthy scarifice if Jesus can return to form and help Arribas in salvaging this season.

For Reinier, his confidence is undoubtably low and a return to familiar territory might do him the world of good. There is plenty of capable star power at the reserves to help find his best form again and it’ll just be a question on whether the Brazilian can put his spell in Germany behind him and start over.