What do we know about Sergio Canales then? The man so much fuss was made over during the January transfer window, as moves to Arsenal, Manchester United and Inter Milan were all reported, before he was inevitably snapped up by Real Madrid in his homeland from boyhood club Racing Santander.
Canales has just celebrated his 19th birthday and currently wears the number 27 shirt for Racing. Real paid an initial fee of around 5 million euros for his services and whilst he will train with his new club through the summer months, he will be loaned straight back to Racing for the duration of next season’s campaign, a move which would suggest to us that he is very much considered one for the future by those at the Bernabeu. I asked how such a bright talent could be prised away for such a small fee and wondered myself if Racing are in financial difficulty and needed a quick sell? It turns out that as well as the loan back agreement, the deal is littered with add-ons, depending on appearances and successes with both Real and the Spanish national side. A part of the transfer fee is also due to Deportivo La Coruna, who hold a percentage of the player’s ownership.
Many in Spain believe that Canales has a pivotal part to play in the future of Spanish football and will become a key figure in the Real first team for years to come. In build Canales is similar to Lionel Messi. Small, agile, quick with the ability to beat a man and technically gifted on the ball. From what I have seen of Canales, I cannot disagree. He looks to have a footballing brain beyond his years and has performed brilliantly this season having scored 5 and made 2 assists in only 12 starts in La Liga. In the games I have seen he operates as an attacking centre midfielder, floating behind the front man in a similar role to that of Juan Riquelme, although many have compared him to Cesc Fabregas in Spain. He has a great left foot and is a wonderful crosser of the ball, as well as being armed with a lethal finish in front of goal.
Real Madrid have slapped a 150 million euro buyout clause straight into his contract to try and put off any other clubs from trying to prise him away, but from what I make of the deal it looks as though he is being signed with the intention to keep him in the capital for the duration of his career.
The youngster did cause a storm last month however, as whilst still at Racing he was pictured posing in a Real shirt and forced to apologise to his current club’s supporters and was forced into releasing a grovelling statement.
“I understand that some Racinguistas, that the fans are upset, so I apologise. I stress that I am here to help Racing,”
“It’s a new world for me and it’s very difficult. What’s done is done. But I’ll face up to it, I will not hide. I know I made a mistake and that’s it, so from all this I can learn and I have learned.”