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Fan-favourite Real Madrid midfielder was close to Arsenal move before arriving in Spain



Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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.

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Real Madrid News

Nacho set to stay at Real Madrid, will be new club captain – report



Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Real Madrid have finally received some good news as MARCA confirms that Nacho has finally made his decision about his future, and is set to continue at the club for the foreseeable future.

His contract expires in the summer, and Real Madrid had tabled an extension for the player, which was not accepted by the Spaniard at the time. Now, however, he has decided to reject offers from Juventus, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and AC Milan.

Nacho will sign a one year extension, with the option to extend for another year if both parties reach an agreement.

His continuity also means that he will be the new club captain for the 2023/24 season, since Karim Benzema is leaving the club on a free transfer in the summer. Luka Modric will be second captain, followed by Daniel Carvajal and Toni Kroos.

Carlo Ancelotti has also spoken to the player, confirming that they trust him for next season in the team, which has gone a long way in helping convince the player.

The Italian gaffer also spoke about the Spanish defender’s contract situation after the game against Athletic Club yesterday, saying:

“Asensio, Nacho and Ceballos? We have explained them their roles. The club have offered them renewals. Asensio has preferred to leave, Ceballos and Nacho are still thinking about it.” 

While a centre-back by trade, Nacho has played across the defence for Madrid continuously, including putting shifts at left-back, right-back, and even centre-back.

His departure would have probably pushed Madrid to sign another defender, especially since they are considering selling Ferland Mendy if a good offer arrives.

Regardless of that, though, Madrid are moving to sign Alphonso Davies, and have already made initial contacts with the player. Bayern Munich have not rejected their advances.

Further, the los blancos management have already met with Davies’ entourage twice, cementing their interest in the Canadian ace.

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