Inside Spain is a weekly instalment brought to you by Football España, providing an insight into all of the major stories coming out of the rich and intense climes of La Liga and beyond.
Turkish teenager Arda Guler has been the talk of Europe for several weeks, with a number of clubs interested in signing the 18-year-old. In the last week, it became a political battle between the big two in Spain.
Late last Thursday night Barcelona President Joan Laporta said they were confident of signing one of the best creative talents in Europe, and were very much the favourites come Monday morning. But if there is one thing Real Madrid, and particularly Florentino Perez enjoy just as much as beating Barcelona on the pitch, it’s outdoing them off it.
Perez supposedly called Guler in order to convince him, and it is little wonder he was keen on a move to the Santiago Bernabeu. The deal Real Madrid are reportedly offering him could go over €50m, without including his salary, despite the fact his release clause is only €17.5m. Perez was reportedly furious when Barcelona beat Los Blancos to Neymar Junior’s signature over a decade ago, and since they have won the race for Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes and Endrick Felipe – Guler is set to be the latest.
Meanwhile Fede Valverde looked like he was set to watch Guler from the stands at the start of the season – and that may well still be the case, if his suspension holds. However he will not face legal action for allegedly punching Villarreal midfielder Alex Baena after a match in April. The case was dropped at Baena’s recollection of the events didn’t add up.
Otherwise Villarreal have been winning. Pau Torres and Nicolas Jackson look set to bring in at least €70m in from their moves, while they have already made five signings for €2.5m, all of which look like smart additions – the latest is Ben Brereton Diaz.
Atletico Madrid are set to sign Cesar Azpilicueta on a permanent deal, after announcing Caglar Soyuncu on Wednesday, while Barcelona also confirmed the signing of Athletic Club defender Inigo Martinez on a free. Barcelona aren’t done there, at least if Xavi Hernandez has his way, he has demanded more business from the club before the window shuts.
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