Valencia’s performances so far this season have shocked the footballing world. Not only are they playing the best football in Spain, but their team, predominantly made up of loanees, youngsters and former flops, are in second place in the table, four points ahead of Real Madrid and seriously looking like they might challenge Barcelona to the title.
If Leicester and Monaco have taught us anything however, it’s to enjoy it while you can Valencia fans. With vultures in Spain and England hovering over the tasty prey at the Mestalla, it’s likely that a lot of the talent at their disposal will be snapped up come summer should their impressive form continue.
One of these promising stars who continues to impress is 20-year-old attacking midfielder Carlos Soler. He made his debut only last December, but has since become a regular starter for Los Che. His versatility, being able to play through the centre or off the wings, has strengthened a midfield which in recent years lacked the energy and dynamism which himself and fellow signings Kondogbia, Pereira and Orellana have added.
One man reported by to be closely following his progress is José Mourinho, who’s been criticised of late, amongst other things, for lacking any sort of attacking alternative in midfield to injured Paul Pogba.
Soler could certainly fill that void in United’s midfield. His style of play would also suit a United team whose goals earlier in the season came largely on the counter attack. It was Paul Pogba who was largely responsible for carrying the ball out from deep and having the vision to find the killer pass, but against weaker teams, United need two Pogbas. The under 21’s Euros finalist can certainly be that explosive second runner.
His pace and dribbling abilities have caught the attention of everyone in Spain. His link-up play especially with new signings Simone Zaza and PSG loanee Gonçalo Guedes has been integral to Valencia’s attacking potency this season.
He also contributed with a goal in Valencia’s surprising 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid earlier in the season, making a clever run into the middle form the right before neatly slotting home past Keylor Navas.
Four assists and one goal however only tells part of the tale of his season. The lift he’s given to the team and the fans with the chances he’s created but also his willingness to run at defenders has brought an excitement to a club which has had little to get excited about during the last decade.
However, manager Marcellino will struggle to keep hold of his wonderkid. £30 million is the sum United are allegedly willing to pay, an amount of cash which would be difficult for Valencia to turn down. They’ll also know, as all of Europe does, that they’ll be able to hold United for a lot more than that. Another report has claimed that the club won’t accept offers under his release clause, which is set at around the £70 million mark.
A United side expected to continue their big-spending next summer would be an equally attractive proposition for Soler. The chance to line up alongside fellow Spaniards David De Gea, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata, given they all stay, could be an added sweetener to the deal.
If the Valencian midfielder continues his fine performance for his club his stock is going to keep rising. With United unlikely to be the only suitors, Soler will have a big decision to make at the end of the season. No one would deny the youngster if he chose to move on, but with something special happening at the Mestalla, he may just be better placed to continue his development at his hometown club.