Real Madrid have confirmed the signing of Manchester City teenager Brahim Diaz on a six-and-a-half year deal, but is it right move for the club and, more importantly, is it the right move for the player?
Diaz, 19, joined City’s youth system from Malaga in 2013 but his contract in Manchester was due to expire this summer. For a number of months he had been telling reporters that he wanted a move way to guarantee more first-team football elsewhere, which he believed would help aid his development as a player.
The highly-rated teenager is set to become Madrid’s first January signing since their deal for Lucas Silva in the 2014/15 campaign and even though the Brazilian midfielder quickly faded from the collective consciousness, there’s a genuine chance Brahim will become a global star.
The Spain Under-21 international only made 15 first-team appearances for City – of which only five were in the Premier League – yet his potential is obvious and was thought to be attracting the attention of a number of Europe’s elite clubs.
Brahim is primarily an attacking midfielder yet is equally adept at playing on either wing and was very highly rated at both club and national level. “Brahim knows what we want for all of our young players,” City boss Pep Guardiola said in November, hinting at his knowledge that an exit could be likely. “We want to protect them and to help them – that goes for him all of the players in the academy. We want him but it does not depend on us but it is up to the agent, to the player, to the family.”
In summer, the player told El Mundo Deportivo: “My ambition is to play as much as I can, the more minutes you get the better you will be.” Brahim’s agent is Guardiola’s brother Pere and the fact that he is leaving City speaks volumes of his desire for a move to the European champions. It is no surprise he wants to join the club, but is it compatible with his desire for more minutes?
He is joining a club where Isco has started just once of his last nine matches – in the Copa del Rey – while Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos are players in a similar area of the pitch, and neither are regular starters. Marcos Llorente and Fede Valverde are two others who are earning more minutes in the centre of the pitch.
Brahim fits the Madrid model of sweeping up young talent and allowing them to develop into a first-team player for future years. But for the here and now, it appears uncertain that he will be selected more frequently than he is at City. Nobody is quite sure what Madrid boss Santiago Solari will do, or for how long he will maintain his job. For Brahim, his move to the Spanish capital leaves more questions than answers.
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