Peñarol vice president Rodolfo Catino talked to Diario AS and revealed the clubs who had interest in Fede Valverde when the midfielder was still at the Uruguayan club.
“Arsenal were the first club with interest in Valverde. They invited him to see their training facilities when he was just 16 years old. We accepted but told him not to play because we didn’t want him to get injured. Months later they tried to sign him but we didn’t reach an agreement because their offer was very low,” says Catino.
Manchester United and Barcelona were also interested in signing the midfielder.
“United and Barça were also in the mix. United soon left the negotiations and Barcelona didn’t want to pay what we wanted. They missed a great player because they didn’t want to make that kind of effort. The negotiations with Barcelona stopped as soon as they didn’t want to improve their offer,” reveals the current vice president of Peñarol.
In the end, Valverde joined Real Madrid Castilla. Catino explains how that happened.
“Madrid went hard after Fede because Juni Calafat had seen something special in him. They paid the €5 million we wanted and some bonus which can’t be disclosed. It’s clear that his signing was a huge success,” he adds.
Valverde has become an undisputed starter for Real Madrid and Catino believes that he has the potential for more.
“Valverde will be a Ballon D’Or winner. He’s one of the greatest players to ever come out of this country, like Suarez or Forlan. I don’t know when that will happen, but he will win it because he understands football and he’s a really elegant midfielder,” concludes Catino.
Real Madrid have struck gold with Fede Valverde and it will be interesting to see what he can do with more minutes, experience and confidence, as he’s still 21 years old.