French manager Philippe Montanier, who has seen enough of Asier Illarramendi during his time at Real Sociedad, has said that Illarramendi has what it takes to become the next Xabi Alonso of the Spanish squad. Real Madrid recently signed the Spain under 21 star for around £ 27 million, thus making him one of the expensive young players in the world right now. Montanier believes that he has the capability to go on and emulate the success of Alonso at both club and national level.
Alonso is regarded as one of the best midfielders in his position. His wide range of passing coupled with the ability to read the game extremely well have made him one of the top players at Real Madrid. However, he is coming to the twilight of his career and is widely expected to leave Real Madrid in the next few seasons. Montanier reckons that the club may have found a potential successor in the form of Illarramendi. Illarramendi has been compared with Barcelona’s defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets on several occasions.
Montanier, though, things that Illarramendi has different qualities to Busquets and that it would be an injustice to compare the two players. He says that Illarramendi has enough quality to not only win the ball back, but also start the attack as well.
“Xabi is a reference point for Basque players and I feel that he can help him [Illarramendi] to grow and develop, too. They can definitely play together. Xabi and Asier are both great players. He has the right character to be a success and he’ll be a big player for Spain, too. Comparing is always difficult. Asier has different qualities [to Busquets]; the same role, yes, but different qualities. Asier is more in the mould of Xavi,” said the 48-year-old French manager.