Dani Ceballos looked to be the solution to this long-term problem when he was brought in on a season-long loan from Real Madrid last summer. It seemed to be a shrewd company from the Gunners. After playing with a starring role in the Spain side which were crowned 2019 UEFA Under-21 European Championship winners, Ceballos found himself on the wish-list of many clubs around the continent.
On the other hand, the 23-year-old has had a fairly unremarkable period in North London. It seems highly improbable Arsenal will match the reported £44million asking cost Los Blancos are demanding. Instead, opting to look elsewhere to get a brand new playmaker.
After registering for the club at age eight, Soler made his debut 2016 and hasn’t looked back.
The 23-year-old quickly became a fan favourite at Mestalla after solidifying himself as a first-team regular in the latter phases of the 2016/17 season. It is clear to see why. Soler owns an amazing passing skill. A trait that has been synonymous with players that understand their trade in Spain.
Despite emerging as a central midfielder, Soler was largely deployed as a winger by both coaches Marcelino and Albert Celades because of his emergence at the starting line-up. Yet, demonstrating a clear inclination to order the game from a more fundamental role, he regularly drifts inside instead of hugging the touchline.
Soler’s flexibility will be a huge asset for Gunners manager Mikel Arteta. Capable of playing either flank, as a defensive midfielder or in a more complex midfield role, the Soler has already made over 100 appearances for Valencia in various midfield positions.
Regardless of his game mostly being centred around having possession of the ball, Soler doesn’t shirk from his defensive duties. He isn’t shy to put a foot in and has averaged 0.8 tackles per 90 whilst predominantly playing wide. That’ll suit the counter-attacking style Arteta has expressed a desire to implement at the Emirates.
Soler has exhibited an awareness of maturity years beyond his age since breaking into the first team only three seasons ago. Playing in a 4-4-2, he has proven an astute strategic awareness in regard to when to sit and should generate a bursting run forward.
Performing on the big stage hasn’t fazed Soler either. The youngster has regularly featured for Los Che at the UEFA Champions League, scoring against the two Chelsea and Manchester United from the contest in the last two seasons. Soler has also turned up in the big games domestically, putting in a man-of-the-match functionality against Barcelona in Valencia’s 2019 Copa Del Rey ultimate success.
Soler’s goal gifts have come under scrutiny this season. The midfielder has just registered three goals and one assist in all competitions this term, a significant decrease on the 11 aids he listed the last term.
Something that Ceballos has slowly done since making the move from Madrid. The set operates in almost identical positions, making you wonder if Soler will have more luck in the capital than Ceballos.
It will also have a lot of convincing on Arteta’s role for Soler to depart his boyhood club after recently mandating his family’s aspirations for him to complete his career in Valencia. The midfielder also includes a documented release clause of £140million that is far from the type of move Arsenal fans have come accustomed to.
But, Soler is one of the most well-rounded up-and-coming midfielders in all of Europe and will fill the creative burden left by Cazorla. But whether Arsenal choose to spend big money to do so is another issue.