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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

Transfer Triumph: In-demand defender picks Real Madrid above other suitors




Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid have received a major transfer boost as Lille defender, Leny Yoro, has chosen to join Los Blancos over other interested clubs, reports Alejandro Alcazar via SPORT.

When Paris Saint-Germain attempted to negotiate a deal with Lille, offering more money than Real Madrid, Yoro made it clear he preferred the Spanish giants. 

Despite PSG’s efforts, including meetings with Yoro’s representatives, they could not convince him to change his mind.

Interestingly, the outlet mentions that Yoro is following a similar path to his compatriot Aurelien Tchouameni, who also chose Real Madrid despite competition from PSG and several Premier League teams. 

Real Madrid really value Yoro

Real Madrid see Yoro as a valuable addition, especially with the recent departure of Nacho. This move has made it crucial for the club to find a reliable replacement, and Yoro is their chosen candidate. 

It is to be noted that Yoro has one year remaining on his contract with Lille, who initially asked for a hefty €100 million transfer fee. 

Leny Yoro has picked Real Madrid over PSG, Liverpool and Man United. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

This amount was considered too high for a player who could leave for free after a year. Lille eventually reduced the asking price to €60 million, an amount that PSG and other clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool were willing to meet. 

However, Real Madrid were not prepared to pay more than €30 million, knowing that Yoro wanted to join them and could do so for free next year.

What is Real Madrid’s strategy?

It is said that Real Madrid’s initial plan was to let Yoro play one more year at Lille and sign him for free in 2025. They were even ready to offer Yoro a special signing bonus, similar to what they did with David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger, which would be added to his salary. 

But Nacho’s departure changed everything. Real Madrid now urgently need a fourth central defender, prompting them to enter negotiations with Lille, something they had previously avoided.

To secure Yoro’s signing this summer, Real Madrid are considering raising their offer to €40 million, including performance-based bonuses. 

Lille might accept this offer, knowing that Yoro could either join Real Madrid now or stay for another year and leave for free.

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