How Arda Guler fits into the Real Madrid squad – and their youth transfer policy first

After weeks of intense negotiations, Real Madrid finally signed Arda Guler from Fenerbahce, defeating his fierce rival Barcelona in front of the Turkish youth.

the athlete It was reported earlier this week that Guler, 18, has chosen Real Madrid over Barcelona. It would cost €20m ($21.7m; £17.1m), with add-ons that could see the fee rise to €30m. Guller joins Madrid on a six-year deal with the immediate aim of cementing his place in Carlo Ancelotti’s first team and wears the number 24.

The option of spending a spell at Real Madrid Castilla – the club’s reserve team full of young players – or going on loan elsewhere was not an option. Instead, Guller will be part of the rebuilding at team level led by Madrid’s chief scout, Johnny Calafat, with Los Blancos moving to a smaller side.

“If they give me the opportunity to play, I will take it,” Güler said at the press conference following the reveal on Friday. “The option to go out on loan is not in my plans.”

Calafat has made a point in recent years of bringing in the most promising players on the international stage at a lower price than one would expect elsewhere. Real Madrid quickly became a team of young players with high potential, backed by the experience of club legends such as Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. It’s a stark contrast to Florentino Perez’s first stint as president in the 2000s, when Real seemed to sign with Galactico every summer.

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Real Madrid beat a host of other clubs to sign Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Choameni and Jody Bellingham in the past six years, while Brazilian striker Andric will join when he turns 18 next year.

The strategy is not without its problems. There is already an overload in midfield, with Federico Valverde, Camavinga, Choameni, Bellingham and the recently renewed Dani Ceballos vying for a place, as well as Modric and Kroos. That’s without including Antonio Blanco, Real Madrid’s youth product who spent the second half of last season on loan at Deportivo Alaves and is expected to leave.

* Count only La Liga matches

There are also question marks over Ancelotti’s future. Brazil are determined to appoint him as their new coach, and earlier this week the Football Association’s president, Edinaldo Rodriguez, appeared to confirm that the Italian would lead them in next year’s Copa America after spending a year in the Copa America. Helmsman of Fluminense President Fernando Diniz. “We don’t call (Deniz) the interim coach of the national team,” Rodriguez told Globo TV. “He will come and make the transfer in Brazil for Ancelotti.”

Whether that makes Ancelotti the right person to lead the Madrid transfer is debatable. Sources close to the Madrid coach, who requested anonymity to protect relations, said: the athlete He didn’t sign anything with Brazil because he has a contract with Real until 2024 and Rodriguez’s words were just another statement of intent from the CBF president.

In any case, Real Madrid does not make signings based on one coach but rather on its long-term strategy. Guler fits in as another promising young midfielder to add to those at their disposal. Smooth at a great pace, he’s just as comfortable in tough situations as he is in the open. The four-cap Turkey international is highly adaptable and appears to have all the attributes needed to play for Real Madrid, but his position and role in Ancelotti’s squad is unclear.

(Photo: Mahmut Serdar Alkos/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

like the athlete He has previously mentioned Ancelotti considering changing his preferred 4-3-3 system while waiting for another striker following Karim Benzema’s departure to the Saudi Professional Federation. The Italian can shift to a 4-4-2 formation, with Brazilian duo Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior serving as pivotal points in attack. He can also use the 4-2-3-1 method, which may be more suitable for Guler.

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Guler played behind the striker or as a right winger for Fenerbahçe. He was effective in both positions, contributing four goals and four assists in the 903rd minute he played in the Turkish Super League. This compares favorably with Brahim Diaz, who returned to the Bernabeu after three years on loan at Milan and signed a new contract until 2027. Diaz, 23, managed six goals and seven assists in Serie A last season but has played more than twice as much. . minutes count, albeit in a more challenging league.

With the midfield crowded, Guler may want to aim for a spot on the right wing – especially if Rodrygo can be used more through the middle. He is expected to play a secondary role in the first few months of his Madrid career, which are always among the most complex for new players. However, his technical attributes mean that Ancelotti could look to him to open up weaker teams with tighter defences.


Until recently, you might not have considered Real Madrid the ideal place for a young player’s development. Martin Odegaard and Takefusa Kubo, now thriving at Arsenal and Real Sociedad respectively, are two examples of emerging stars who joined Madrid as teenagers, only to find they were unable to force their way into a squad full of experienced players.

This appears to have changed in recent years. Vinicius Junior and Rodrigo both arrived in the Spanish capital at the age of 18, with Madrid agreeing deals for both of them before they even reached that age. Both soon played starring roles and were instrumental in Real Madrid’s 14 European Cup triumph last year.

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It marks a shift in transfer policy for Real Madrid, who have seen how state-owned clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain swell the transfer market. Their response was to target the next generation, with Calafat’s links in Brazil proving particularly influential in the signings of Vinicius Jr., Rodrigo and Andric.

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Then there are the academy products whose path to the first team will be more difficult with a signing like Güler. Sergio Arribas, 21, and Nico Paz, 18, are two players who shone in Castilla’s ultimately unsuccessful bid to win promotion to the second tier last season. Arriba was already expected to leave this summer before Guler’s deal was announced, but Paz may be wondering where that leaves him.

Arebias and Paz do not have the same flying experience as the non-Spanish born players in the first team. With Real Madrid willing to give overseas players with flying experience a chance, the most effective route for the first team appears to be to leave to join another club before returning home.

Such was the case with two of Real Madrid’s signings this summer who previously played for Castilla, Fran Garcia and Joselo. Garcia, 23, enjoyed a stellar campaign last season at Rayo Vallecano that convinced Real Madrid to re-sign the academy graduate, while Joselu, 33, has lived a more bumpy road back to the Bernabeu.

Playing for Real Madrid’s first team at a young age is an experience only reserved for a select few. And these are the ones recruited by Calafat.

(Top photo: Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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