Barcelona appears to have taken the lead in the race to secure the signing of highly-talented youngster Arda Guler from Fenerbahce, outpacing their arch-rivals Real Madrid in the process. Guler, an 18-year-old midfield sensation, has been widely recognized as one of Europe’s most promising prospects.
In the 2022-23 season, he impressed with six goals and seven assists in 35 appearances across various tournaments.
Guler demonstrated his skills in 11 Super Lig matches for Fenerbahce, consistently featuring from the start. He also played a crucial role in their triumph in the Turkish Cup final against Istanbul Basaksehir, providing an assist for Michy Batshuayi. His overall record stands at an impressive nine goals and 12 assists in 51 appearances for Fenerbahce, who have him contracted until the summer of 2025.
However, Fenerbahce is facing an uphill battle to retain their prized asset, as several top clubs from across Europe are vying for his signature. Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta, has openly expressed his desire to secure Guler’s services and has confirmed ongoing negotiations. Real Madrid is also rumored to be interested in the young Turkish talent but appears to be lagging behind their Catalan rivals.
The latest reports from Mundo Deportivo suggest that Barcelona is on the verge of winning the race for Guler. They aim to finalize the deal within the coming days. Guler’s contract with Fenerbahce includes a release clause of €17.5m (£15m).
To accommodate Financial Fair Play regulations, Barcelona’s sporting director, Deco, has proposed a payment plan spreading the cost over two years. As part of the agreement, Fenerbahce would retain Guler on loan for the 2023-24 season, and Barcelona would settle the remaining release clause when he officially joins Camp Nou in a year.
However, a couple of obstacles still need to be overcome. Fenerbahce reportedly demands a 20% share of any future transfer fee, while Guler is keen on an immediate transfer to Barcelona. Despite these challenges, positive discussions between Deco and Guler’s representatives have instilled confidence that the midfielder will be registered as a Barcelona player before the current transfer window closes.
Guler has already made four appearances for the Turkish national team, scoring his first goal against Wales in a Euro 2024 qualifying match on June 19. His versatility allows him to play across different positions, including right winger, number 10, left winger, and central midfielder.
Barcelona has already strengthened its midfield ranks this summer by acquiring Ilkay Gundogan from Manchester City on a free transfer, successfully fending off competition from Arsenal. While there is still a possibility of signing a new number six following Sergio Busquets’s departure, Laporta has ruled out pursuing Joshua Kimmich from Bayern Munich or Martin Zubimendi from Real Sociedad.