Swede whizz-kid set to seal lu­cra­tive Real deal

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

REAL Madrid are clos­ing in on the sign­ing of Swedish teenage for­ward Alexander Isak from AIK, Span­ish me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day.

Madrid daily Marca said the 17-year-old was set to join the Euro­pean cham­pi­ons for about €10-mil­lion (about R145-mil­lion).

That would make him the most ex­pen­sive player to leave a Swedish club, beat­ing the €8.7-mil­lion Ajax Amsterdam paid Malmo for Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic in 2001.

Isak is widely re­garded as the most promis­ing Swedish player since Ibrahi­movic.

Tech­ni­cally ex­cel­lent, the slight teenager’s great­est strength is his ma­tu­rity and abil­ity to make right de­ci­sions un­der pres­sure.

Isak’s calm style is in stark con­trast to the flam­boy­ant Ibrahi­movic, Swe­den’s all-time lead­ing goalscorer, but he did rile sup­port­ers of AIK’s Stock­holm ri­vals Djur­gar­den last year by cel­e­brat­ing a derby goal in front of their fans.

Isak scored 10 league goals in 19 league starts to help AIK fin­ish sec­ond in Swe­den’s top-flight last season and qual­ify for the Europa League.

AIK have made Isak un­avail­able to the me­dia at the mo­ment, but he was spot­ted at their Karl­berg club house yes­ter­day fol­low­ing his re­turn from a tour with the Swe­den squad.

Isak said he was not stressed by the Real spec­u­la­tion and had en­joyed his time with Swe­den dur­ing which he cel­e­brated his first start with his first in­ter­na­tional goal in a 6-0 thrash­ing of Slo­vakia in Abu Dhabi to be­come his coun­try’s youngest scorer.

Real signed Nor­way in­ter­na­tional Martin Ode­gaard two years ago at the age of 16 but he has only made two com­pet­i­tive ap­pear­ances for the first team and last week joined Dutch side Heeren­veen on loan.

Mean­while, Manch­ester United have ex­tended Ecuado­rian de­fender An­to­nio Va­len­cia’s, pic­tured, con­tract by a year, the Pre­mier League club said yes­ter­day. United said on their web­site www.manutd.com that a clause had been trig­gered to keep the 31-year-old in­ter­na­tional at Old Traf­ford un­til at least June, 2018. The wing-back has made 271 ap­pear­ances for United and scored 21 goals, win­ning six tro­phies, since join­ing from Wi­gan Ath­letic in 2009. Va­len­cia has started 23 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions this season un­der man­ager José Mour­inho and was voted United’s Player of the Month by fans in Novem­ber. – Reuters

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