Scout Report: Carlos Soler - Valencia's big hope in midfield
Spain have always had an endless supply of classy midfielders. The most recent being Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta. There's no denying the fact that the trio have dominated the midfield for a long time now. However, they are now at the end of their career and it's time that we look forward, to Carlos Soler!
Born in Valencia, Spain, the 20-year old made his breakthrough in football by joining his hometown club in 2005. He started playing as early as when he was 8-years old. As a kid, he was played in various positions as the coaches wanted to find his natural position.
He started playing as a striker, but was then made to play as an attacking midfielder, and then, he was finally played in the central midfield.
Soler made his debut on May 2015 for the senior reserve's team. He played in the central midfield position against Segunda Divison B side, UE Cornella. Although Soler ended up on the losing side (1-0), he did manage to impress the fans and his coach. He got his first goal playing for the senior reserves team in December 2015 in a 2-2 draw with CF Badalona.
He was rewarded by Valencia, after he renewed his contract in March 2016, by being named on the bench in the UEFA Europa League clash against Athletic Bilbao. Although he was an unused substitute, things started to take shape for the midfielder and he soon became a part of his team.
Soler finally made his senior debut last season as a substitute in a 3-2 defeat to Real Sociedad in December. He made 18 appearances in all competitions, scoring 3 goals in the process. He was also selected to represent Spain in the European U-21 Championship.
Soler is a very quick and a direct player. He is very pacy, which he uses it to his advantage. In a blink of an eye, he moves from a defensive role to an attacking one. He also has the ability to play short or long passes, and is the kind of player who is always waiting for a pass so that he can drive forward through the opponent's defence.
Being 6ft tall and having a slender build does not stop him from playing aggressive football. He has the ability to retain possession during attacks and is able to hold off challenges. He prefers playing in the attacking midfield position but can also play in a wider attacking role or deep in the midfield, as the situation deems fit.
Soler is tactically aware of the game, and also has quite an eye for the goal. This allows him to control/change the tempo of the game and when it comes to counter-attacks, Soler is one of Valencia's best players.
The 20-year old has been labelled as the "New David Silva," because of his creative ability and individual skills.
He may have a lot of strengths but like any other player, he also has some weakness. Not to forget, he is only 20, so he is bound to make mistakes, which is acceptable.
Like any other youngster, he can make rash challenges and concede unwanted set-pieces, when on the move with the ball. He also needs to improve on his defending abilities, especially when it comes to defending corners and free-kicks.
In the past, he has lacked command and concentration. At times, he also hesitates, which could give the opponents the chance they are looking for and capitalize on it.
Just like many other young players who want to make an impression, Soler is no exception. When on the move with the ball, he prefers to play alone and does all the work, which backfires most of the time. He is also late at releasing the ball when on a counter-attack. This has lead to some of the counter-attacks being broken down.
If he can improve his weakness, especially the part of releasing the ball on time, then he can really help the strikers. He would be able to link up with the forwards, and could be a crucial player for Valencia, who are aiming for a higher league finish and hopefully find a spot in the Champions League next season.
What happens next?
According to reports, Soler was being scouted by Mourinho for a possible summer transfer. Manchester United's scouting team were impressed by the youngster and were eager to bring the versatile midfielder to their team but nothing fruitful came out of it.
The Red Devils would, once again, try to sign a deal with the Spanish international by the end of the season.
However, a move at this age to a big club like United could hamper Soler's development. He is young and has the abilities to make it big. To do that, he needs game time, which he would get while at Valencia, but not necessarily at United. Ideally, he should continue his development under manager Marcelino and stay put in Valencia, who currently sit 2nd in the La Liga table.