In the opening months of the 2018-19 LaLiga campaign, there have been plenty of wonderful surprises. Alavés are in the top four, while Real Valladolid do not seem to have relegation concerns at all during their top-flight return. Another club turning heads can be found in Catalonia with Espanyol, and a key contributor has been Mario Hermoso.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a fantastic start to the season, and has been one of the reasons Los Periquitos are flying high at the moment. After 12 rounds of fixtures, Espanyol sit fifth in the table and three points back of first-place Barcelona. Defensive work has been at the heart of their success, allowing only ten goals through the 12 games.
Hermoso has been a steady presence in central defence, averaging five clearances and just under two tackles per match. He communicates well with his back-line, keeping their shape and positioning themselves well for success. Productivity has been seen at the other end of the pitch also, with Hermoso already netting two goals. RCDE Stadium has become a fortress, as Espanyol have won all five of their home league games thus far.
Hermoso began his journey at Real Madrid, joining their youth squads at the age of ten. He progressed through the academy and eventually made his way to the reserves side, along with an efficient loan stint with Real Valladolid in 2015.
Playing time was ultimately tough to secure, as he never did manage to feature for Madrid’s senior team. But a move to Espanyol last summer has seen his form reach new levels, and one can’t help but think that another transfer could be on the cards for the defender.
Mario Hermoso on possibly returning to Real Madrid: “At this moment I don't know anything, nobody has contacted me. If the situation occurs, it will be valued." pic.twitter.com/fndKkd3pzO
— RMadridHome (@RMadridHome_) November 15, 2018
There will certainly be the goal of being involved with the Spanish national squad present for him. Selections can be dominated by the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, with the two giants often providing many players for La Furia Roja. In terms of global exposure, they offer a much bigger reach than Espanyol can. However, it is not an impossible feat.
There will be pressure and speculation surrounding him, especially as Hermoso continues to put in positive performances this season. Espanyol’s remarkable start is exciting, but it will be difficult to sustain their place in the top six as time goes on. If the Catalan club are going to make the investments necessary to build something special, it could be tempting for him to stay. The history of LaLiga in terms of transfers can be overwhelming though, and a major bid from resourceful sides would likely be too much for Espanyol to pass up.
With the player’s reputation growing as well, this truly has all the makings of an eventual departure.
Mario Hermoso is in the midst of a break-out season for Espanyol and first-year manager Rubi. He has a bright future ahead of him. Unfortunately, that future may not be with his current team.