Arda Güler is one of the most exciting young talents in world football. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder has been dazzling fans and pundits alike with his performances for Fenerbahçe and Turkey. He has been compared to Mesut Özil, his idol and predecessor at Fenerbahçe, for his vision, creativity and technique. He is also known for his versatility, as he can play in various positions across the midfield and the front line.
Güler started his football journey at Gençlerbirliği, a club based in his hometown of Ankara. He joined Fenerbahçe in 2019, where he quickly rose through the ranks of the youth teams. He signed his first professional contract with the club in January 2021, and made his senior debut in August 2021, in a Europa League qualifier against HJK Helsinki. He soon became a regular starter for Fenerbahçe, wearing the iconic number 10 shirt after Özil’s departure. Fitting, then, that he has been compared to Özil, but also Lionel Messi, as someone who can dominate the right wing with a magical left foot.
In his first full season with Fenerbahçe, Güler scored three goals and provided three assists in 12 Süper Lig appearances, helping his team finish second behind champions Trabzonspor.
Then in the 2022-2023 season, Güler took another leap, pretty well dominating the league as an offensive weapon. As The Athletic’s James Horncastle put it in an article this week: “This left-footer in a No 10 shirt who tends to play in the right half-space comes out on top in assists per 90, key passes per 90, open-play passes in the final third per 90, successful dribbles per 90, possession-adjusted pressures per 90, counter-pressures per 90…”
Güler’s meteoric rise has also attracted the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Arsenal, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain were all reportedly interested in signing him. However, it was Real Madrid who have seemingly won the race for his signature, agreeing a deal with Fenerbahçe in July. Güler will join the Spanish giants after completing his medicals if all goes according to plan.
Güler is a player who combines flair and intelligence on the pitch. He has excellent ball control, dribbling skills and passing range. He can create chances for himself and his teammates with his vision and creativity. He is also a composed finisher who can score from different angles. He is not afraid to take on defenders or shoot from distance with a stinging shot. He is also a hard-working player, who tracks back to help his team defensively.
Güler’s main weakness is his physicality. He can be pushed off the ball by opponents on occasion. He also needs to improve his defensive awareness and positioning, as he can sometimes leave gaps behind him when he ventures forward — though, he should have plenty of coverage at Real Madrid if he’s playing an attacking role. He also needs to work on his consistency and decision-making, as he can sometimes be too flashy or wasteful with the ball.
Arda Güler at Real Madrid is going to be really fun. Silky player. Plays with a lot of bounce. Maybe he'll even break through faster than we think.pic.twitter.com/LSIil7iChn— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) July 6, 2023
Güler is a player who has enormous potential and a bright future ahead of him. He has already shown that he can perform at a high level for both club and country. He has also shown that he can handle pressure and expectations, as he has thrived under the spotlight of wearing the number 10 shirt for Fenerbahçe and being compared to Özil. He will now face a new challenge of adapting to a new league and a new culture at Real Madrid, where he will compete with some of the best players in the world for a place in the team.
Güler is a player who deserves to be watched closely by football fans around the world. He is a player who can entertain and inspire with his skills and creativity. He is a player who can make a difference on the pitch with his goals and assists. He is a player who can become one of the stars of his generation.
What role Güler will play at Real Madrid next season remains to be seen, but reports in Spain indicate he will be part of the first team immediately rather than go out on loan. Between him and Brahim Diaz, Real Madrid will have filled the Marco Asensio void quite well in the transfer market.