Arda Guler: Why Real Madrid are spending at least €20m on the 'Turkish Messi'

Arda Guler Real Madrid 2023-24Getty Images

Being compared to Lionel Messi is a rite of passage for any attacking wonderkid, and Arda Guler is no different. The diminutive forward attracted plenty of attention from some of Europe's biggest clubs this summer having been excitingly dubbed 'The Turkish Messi' some time ago.

Fenerbahce were eager to keep Guler around as they look to close the gap on Galatasaray at the top of the Super Lig next season, but the writing was already on the wall. Interest in the 18-year-old came from far and wide, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Borussia Dortmund just some of the clubs in the running.

In the end, Los Blancos have triumphed, with the Spanish giants beating everyone else to his signature, doing so by committing to pay in excess of release clause by agreeing an initial €20 million (£17m/$22m) fee, with a potential €10m (£8.5m/$11m) more due in add-ons.

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So is the hype justified? Or is Guler condemned to join the likes of Ryan Gauld, Amir Sayoud and Alen Halilovic as players who could not live up to high expectations after being touted as Messi's successor on the global stage?

Below, GOAL takes an intimate look at why the NXGN Nine 2023 inductee is such an exciting prospect...