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Manchester United seeking deal with Valencia for 20-year-old midfielder

Manchester United are seeking a deal with Spanish side Valencia for midfield star Carlos Soler. The 20-year-old was linked with the Old Trafford club in the summer and at that time it was suggested he could be the long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, who signed a new one-year deal last summer and will be expected to hang up his boots at the end of the current season. Carrick has spent much of the current season on the sidelines through injury with Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini absentees too, leaving just Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera as the experienced midfielders.

United manager Jose Mourinho is reportedly looking to add dynamism to his ‘engine room’ and Soler is a player that would offer just that. The Spain U21’s star has had an impressive career to date, which is why the Portuguese manager has seemingly made a swift move for the player, at least according to reports. At times this season and last, United played in a 4-3-3 formation with a three-man midfield. That is the favoured formation of Pogba, who United have missed over the past month or so with him being out of action. Soler, should a move actually happen, could be the player United have been seeking to convert to that formation.

Soler has been scouted by United for some time now and at a stage last season, he was available for €8 million, the release clause set for him at the time. That release clause had risen to €30 million as he had played in more first team matches, but so far this season, his current release clause is suggested to be £75 million, a similar fee to that of Romelu Lukaku, who made the move from Everton to United last summer. If Soler is going to be that player, it is safe to say his club value him highly.

Soler has been a regular starter for Valencia four about two years now, making the step up from Valencia’s reserve side – he had been a Valencia player since he was seven years old. The player had recently spoken about his release clause, not mentioning the exact number, but suggesting he had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Soler said:

“That’s something that’s done by the club, by agents.

“When I go out on the pitch to play, I’m not thinking: ‘wow, I’ve got a really high buy-out clause and I’ve got a lot of responsibility on my shoulders.'”

Soler has played nine matches for Valencia this season, all in La Liga. He has scored one goal, which was against Real Madrid in the 2-2 draw between the two sides on the 27th August 2017. Based on his individual statistics for Valencia in La Liga, Soler would be a player who could form a great midfield trio with Pogba and Matic. He has averaged an 84% pass success, with an average of 17 metres per pass, also creating 15 chances for his teammates, four of those becoming assists. Soler has a 67% shot accuracy, having 15 shots, eight of them on target. He has also averaged at least one defensive action per league match, which demonstrates his ability to be in the area where play currently is.

Soler, if United’s interest is solid, which could well be based on the time the Old Trafford club have been scouting him, but that said, they have spent time scouting many other players over the years, many not actually seeing solid interest coming from the club. The fee could be something which may deter United from signing the player, but if you look at the summer, for instance, when Inter Milan learned of United’s apparent interest in Ivan Perisic, they demanded such a high fee for the player so that said, other targets could end up costing United similar fees. It would all depend on whether Valencia would be prepared to make a deal rather than going down the release clause route.

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