Plenty of youngsters have wilted at the pressure of being dubbed the ‘next Lionel Messi’, but Arda Guler has all the skills to warrant that nickname. It’s no wonder clubs like Arsenal, Barcelona and Liverpool are interested.
With Messi himself now jetting off to Miami, everyone is desperate to find the heir to his throne. The Argentine genius is a once-in-a-lifetime player, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t excited about Guler right now.
Who else in Europe is able to drop a defender to the floor with the shimmy of a shoulder? Or delicately loft the ball over a helpless backline with ease? As it turns out, the 18-year-old Turkish wonderkid has plenty of tricks up his sleeve.
After a noteworthy campaign with Fenerbahce, Guler left us all breathless after his final performance of the season against Istanbul Basaksehir in the Turkish Cup final.
The eyes of the world were watching and the tricky midfielder didn’t disappoint. When cup finals roll around, it’s often the senior players who dominate proceedings. But Guler took things into his own hands this time.
One of our favourite moments from the 18-year-old came in the second half. With Fenerbahce already leading 2-0, Guler was able to ready put on a show.
He picks the ball out of the air with ease before honing in on his next victim. His first instinct is to drive forward and what follows is absolutely filthy.
Like a flashback to Messi dropping Jerome Boateng in 2015, a quick shimmy is all it takes for Guler to throw his opponent off balance and leave them on their backside. This move deserved to end in a goal.
Let him cook ✨☄️ pic.twitter.com/9DLrUfO1cq
— Arda Güler 🇹🇷 (@ArdaGulerXTra) June 11, 2023
What sets Messi apart from the rest isn’t just his majestical dribbling skills, but his playmaking abilities too. Luckily enough, Guler also has some of that magic in his boots.
The Fenerbahce youngster is obviously in the early stages of his career, but his underlying numbers are hugely promising. Averaging two successful dribbles and two chances created per game, the potential is clear to see.
His finest playmaking moment against Istanbul Basaksehir came in the first half. With a mixture of swagger and nonchalance, he cooly lifts the ball over two helpless defenders.
In the end, Enner Valencia doesn’t manage to make a clean connection with the ball, but what an assist this would have been. We’re drooling at the prospect of seeing him in the Premier League.
💭 What a pass by Arda Guler!
— Barça Spaces (@BarcaSpaces) June 11, 2023
Every top club from around Europe has been notified of Guler’s staggering cheap release clause this summer. Fenerbahce will surely be bracing for a barrage of offers.
“Understand Turkish gem Arda Guler will be now available for just €17.5m fee net after taxes/solidarity,” Fabrizio Romano recently revealed.
“Yes, just €17.5m for one of the biggest talents in Europe as release clause will be activated after playing 1500 minutes. Many top clubs, trying to convince the player.”
The 18-year-old can play in a variety of roles and is attracting interest from several clubs. He has predominately played as an attacking midfielder, but can also operate on the right-hand side.
Guler has even received plaudits from Andrea Pirlo, who recently managed the Turkish club Fatih Karagumruk. “Guler is a very talented player,” Pirlo told Hurriyet.
“He has the potential to play anywhere in the world. He has quality, he can read the game well, and he has great technique. If he keeps developing his game, there is no limit to his potential.”
Liverpool’s interest in the youngster has been well-documented and the likes of Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona have also been linked.
With Jurgen Klopp keen to lower the average age of his squad, there aren’t many more promising players in Europe right now than Guler. Trouble is, many of Europe’s other big beasts will surely be tempted to secure his signature too.
By Ben Stewart