Swede whizz-kid set to seal lucrative Real deal
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