It’s one of the pleasant surprises of the (end) of the 2021 - 2022 season: Jesus Vallejo has played his fourth straight game and has played well in all of them. Against Levante, he probably put in his best shift.
Perhaps the bar is low, and maybe that’s why there’s some hype now surrounding his cameos. He is not a world class defender, but, as far as fourth-choice center-backs go, they’re supposed to do what Vallejo has done during this run: Be serviceable and reliable in limited minutes.
That’s a huge upgrade over his poor performances at Granada and Wolves, and what we’ve seen of him in the past couple weeks is closer to what we remember seeing from his Eintracht Frankfurt days. Vallejo has been solid on the ball and has fought through 50 / 50 duels with conviction. He looks more confident now than he has in years.
Against Levante on Thursday night, Vallejo blocked five shots (by far a game-high) and completed 88% of his passes. He was press-resistant, provided good coverage for Lucas Vazquez, and his step-up interventions were impressive.
Should Real Madrid keep Vallejo next season as a last-choice center back? It’s on the table, but likely won’t happen now given the club signed Rudiger and renewed Nacho. But Vallejo playing well now certainly boosts his transfer value.