Turkish wonderkid Arda Guler has opted to sign for Real Madrid ahead of his other suitors this summer in a deal that promises to be worth in excess of £15m – but where will the talented teenager fit in at Los Blancos?
The 18-year-old has been on several big clubs wish lists and Real’s traditional rivals Barcelona were thought to be leading the chase for his signature before Madrid agreed terms with Fenerbahce.
Real Madrid have agreed to pay a premium on Guler’s release clause of £15m, while they have also allowed Fenerbahce to insert a sell-on clause into the deal which would earn the selling side 20% of any future fee received for their starlet.
Arda Güler to Real Madrid, here we go! Deal’s almost completed between Real and Fenerbahçe, documents are being checked for 2005 gem. 🚨⚪️🇹🇷 #Real
€20m fixed fee, 20% sell-on clause and extra add-ons in the ‘package’ plus taxes.
Medical being scheduled.
Arda joins Real now. pic.twitter.com/8tjdCpg5AB
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 5, 2023
Arda Guler has serious potential
Dubbed the “Turkish Messi”, Guler joined the youth ranks at Fenerbahce in 2019 and made rapid progress at the Gencerbirligi before making his first team debut in 2021.
Guler has scored nine times in 51 appearances for Fenerbahce since and his sparkling performances in the final third alerted a whole host of household names to his potential.
Last season, Guler started just 11 times in the Super Lig for Fenerbahce, though the teen still managed to clock an impressive four goals and three assists, while he also turned heads with some dynamic displays in the Europa League.
Guler was drafted into the Turkish national team set-up by manager Stefan Kuntz in November last year and after making his debut against the Czech Republic, the attacking midfielder has been a mainstay in Turkey’s squads, collecting four caps in total.
Fenerbahce initially wanted to keep Guler on loan for another season to aid his development, however, Real Madrid are believed to be keen to get their hands on the wonderkid with a view to involving him in the first team.
Where will Arda Guler fit in at Real Madrid?
While Guler is versatile enough to be deployed in most positions in the final third, the 18-year-old was primarily positioned as an attacking midfielder by Fenerbahce last season, where his close control and eye for a pass allowed him to do plenty of damage.
Though Guler has drawn comparisons with Lionel Messi and earned a nickname to match, in truth, his playing style isn’t all that similar to the iconic Argentinean winger.
Guler doesn’t possess the kind of explosive acceleration that characterised Messi’s game, so don’t expect the youngster to embark on mazy runs past several markers at a time.
The gifted left-footer performs with a more languid style and is more likely to part a defence with a perfectly weighted pass than a dribble. Comparisons with a young Mezut Ozil would be perhaps more accurate.
In Carlo Ancelotti’s 4-3-3 system at Real Madrid, a position as one of the eights in midfield either side of anchorman Aurélien Tchouaméni might suit Guler’s skill set. At the same time, a role at number ten would be a perfect fit if Los Blancos opted for a formation with that structure.
Guler can also impact games from a berth on the right wing, where his ability to move inside and shoot from his laser-like left foot would add a fresh dimension to a Real side that have been operating with more traditional wingers in recent seasons.
Patience will be key for Arda Guler, however, and an instant or prominent first-team remit probably won’t be forthcoming right away. Nevertheless, expect the wonderkid to shine brightly whenever he is handed an opportunity.