When you think of Spanish players representing Arsenal, many will think of Cesc Fabregas, others may think of Santi Cazorla, maybe you’re a Nacho Monreal fan?
I wonder how many think of Jose Antonio Reyes. The Seville speedster, with a penchant for destroying Real Madrid teams almost like he took extra pleasure from it.
Reyes a Seville local, rose through the ranks, to play for his hometown club Sevilla, making his debut at the precious age of 16. He went on to have a goal-scoring average of around a goal every third game along with extraordinary energy and passion which attracted Arsene Wenger ultimately in 2004 when he joined Arsenal in 2004. You know the rest of the story.
Arsenal linked Carlos Soler who plays for Valencia is very much in the mould of Jose Reyes. A hometown born attacking midfielder who has been at Valencia since reportedly the age of 8. Of what I know of him he’s hard working and inventive also.
To get a better scope of a man being linked with a possible £40 million switch, I spoke to Valencia FC expert Hans Kristian Lange
JH Most people know Carlos Soler is a youth product for Valencia but besides that what is the back story about this talented young player?
HKL – Carlos Soler has a very interesting history. He was discovered by coincidence as a 5-year old by a friend of his father. He noticed the boy had an incredible shot for being so young. After much persuasion, and the promise of a Game-boy, the kid joined the team Bonrepos. Another coincidence brought the 5-year old to play Valencia’s prebenjamin (sub-8). Soler scored 3 as a striker, and caught the eye of the Valencia coaches, who were shocked to learn his age. After that his coach said, “we knew he would be going”. At 7 he did join after spending 2 years playing with kids 2,5 years his age. At Valencia he kept playing striker and got 500 goals and 100 assists in 8 years!
- Arsenal have been linked with a move for Soler, what type of player is he exactly? And what is his best role?
HKL – Carlos Soler, despite his past as a striker, excelled at central midfield for the club’s Cantera (reserves). It was there he performed so well, that he knocked on and walked through the door to the first team. He is a very dynamic player with great stamina which has capacity to do that extra run even at 90 minutes. He is technically good and ambitious in his passing when at central midfield. He is also a hard worker who is very conscious about his defensive duties.
This has been important as he’s been moved out right, and lately left for Valencia’s 4-4-2. The positional changes also indicate his adaptability and willingness to take on any role the coach sees fit. In addition, he has quite a high-top speed (see the second Valencia goal against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final when he parked Jordi Alba). If he is lacking something it is a little bit more goal, and at central midfield slightly more calmness and risk control in his passing.
- With a rumoured price tag of £38 million for Soler, do you think that would work out as a good price for him?
HKL – It is hard to set a price on a player like Carlos Soler. He is a local boy who has been at the club since he was 7 years old, and with an ownership that highly values young players who are developed at the club. Any sale will cause outrage among fans, even if some are convinced Soler isn’t really that good (ever raging debate). His clause is 150 million Euro, so the expectations will be high. Should someone get him for 38 million pounds, they should be satisfied.
- Finally, obviously all fans would want their home-grown players to stay, but is there anything else Arsenal fans might want to know about the talented Spaniard?
HKL – I think apart from all the football related matters, Carlos Soler is just a great person, who is extremely professional and loyal. And he always has a smile on his face, he is humble and always wants to learn more. I believe that these days that is something that should be highly valued.
If you liked the way Hans spoke or would like to hear more things Valencia, you can find him on twitter among many other places at @mulu83