Analysis: What’s so special about 18-year-old Barcelona and Real Madrid target Arda Guler?

A ‘European battle’ is out the race to sign 18-year-old talent Arda Guler has been described, but they may as well have used battle royale as the descriptor. The tiny Turkish talent has the world at his feet currently, with the great and the good lining up to show him around their training grounds.

Part of that is down to the fact he has a rather affordable release clause for most top clubs, and will be allowed to leave Fenerbahce for ‘just’ €17.5m.

The number of clubs linked with him is into double figures, with three in Spain alone mentioned by Sport, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla. Benfica, Milan, RB Salzburg and an array of Premier League teams are also seemingly willing to shell out in order to take him. That tells you he is either extremely talented or has an incredibly active agent.

Most are leaning towards the former. This season, his second in senior football, he has played 35 times, scoring 6 and providing 7 assists. Across the entirety of his senior club appearances, he has 21 goal contributions in 51 appearances, despite most of them being off the bench. Guler already has four caps for Turkey, and has scored his first international goal too.

Nicknamed, surely by the cruelest fans, ‘the Turkish Messi’, certainly he has the impudence of the great Argentine. Left-footed, Guler is used to operating either in the middle or coming in from the right-hand side, where he can cut inside.

Capable of turning on a penny, Guler’s excellent balance and dextrous feet allow him to get away from defenders with ease, without necessarily employing much pace to do so. He also has a keen eye for pass, and a soft touch, which makes it easy to see why so many top clubs are drawn to him – everyone is.

That touch allows him to go in whichever direction he wants with the ball too, and can open up the pitch at a moment’s notice. Guler has already established that he is competent in terms of positioning too, finding space between defensive schemes in order to do so.

While ratings can be speculative at times, Guler has the highest WhoScored rating of any player in the division and is towards the top of several metrics for Fenerbahce, which does say something about his quality.

No player is a slam dunk in football, and success depends on a vast array of factors. Talent won’t be one in which Guler is lacking. While he has more experience in senior football, is older, and has a higher price tag, the clamour for his signature resembles that which occurred for Martin Odegaard. Guler’s challenge will be selecting the right club for the next stage of his development.

Tags Arda Guler Barcelona Fenerbahce RB Salzburg Real Madrid

1 Comment

  1. As good as this guy obviously is i think barca should be prioritizing a rwb and pivot first as barca already has an awesome midfield and it’s not an area they are lacking in tbh.

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