Federico Valverde is having a season to remember so far. The Real Madrid midfielder has emerged as one of the best performers in La Liga, with the Uruguayan even being nominated for the prestigious Player of the Month award for September.
In light of Valverde’s excellent start to the season, Diario AS has come out with an insightful report on the player’s early days in Uruguay.
The report suggests Valverde might not have played for Real Madrid had it not been for a change of fate, as it was Arsenal who were close to securing his services, shortly before his move to Santiago Bernabeu.
Francis Cagigao, Arsene Wenger’s right-hand man for over two decades at Arsenal, had his eye on Valverde since he was 16 and playing for Penarol. He had closely monitored the youngster’s progress in Uruguay, with the player even travelling to London in December 2014 to train with Arsenal.
Valverde spent six days in London, training with the U23s and even with the first team. Arsenal took the negotiations open step further by travelling to Montevideo to finalise a deal. All the parties involved even reached an agreement over Valverde’s potential move to the Emirates Stadium.
But the player opted to wait on a move due to the South American U17 Championships. He ended up as one of the best performers in the competition, eventually attracting interest from a host of top clubs across Europe.
Arsenal claimed to be the front-runner in the race, citing a previous agreement. Valverde’s family was even willing to honour the agreement. But a bidding war between the top European clubs eventually saw Real Madrid reaching a €5 million agreement with Penarol.
It was higher than the €3 million Arsenal were willing to fork out for the Uruguayan at the time. As a result, Valverde ended up joining the ranks at Real Madrid Castilla in 2016, where he teamed up with other youngsters such as Martin Odegaard, Sergio Reguilon and Achraf Hakimi.
Six years later, Valverde has become central to Real Madrid’s first team and is tipped to become the face of the club’s midfield unit, especially with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric currently in the final phase of their respective careers.
Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes
Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.
Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.
Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.
Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.
The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.
No loan deal for Guler
However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.
Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.
Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.
They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.