Two goals for Manchester City in the League Cup have put Brahim Diaz in the European football spotlight and now Real Madrid are interested in securing the youngster’s services.
The reasons for that are twofold: firstly, his potential and age (being just 19) and secondly his contractual situation, with his current deal set to expire in June.
City have been trying for several months to convince the Malaga native to extend his contract with the English champions but with January fast approaching, he is two months away from being free to discuss a contract with any other club.
That is a situation which has piqued the attention of Europe’s elite, who are intrigued and encouraged by the situation.
Real Madrid lead a long list of admirers and are willing to either negotiate this winter or next summer.
Diaz joined the Citizens in January 2014, arriving from Malaga‘s youth academy, who almost sold him to Barcelona the previous season.
In the end, that deal did not happen and he stayed in Andalusia for one more year before ending up in England.
He lives in Manchester with his parents as well as his four sisters, starting in their youth academy and making his way to the reserve side at the age of 16.
Impressively, he was part of a side who won the youth league title without losing a game, a team which featured stars such as Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden.
His debut came in the League Cup in 2016, when he played the final minutes of a game against Swansea City just days after turning 17.
Days later, he inked his first professional contract with Manchester City, which is the same one that is soon set to expire.
Along the way, he has played in five Premier League games (the minimum required to qualify for a league winner’s medal), three in the Champions League, one in the FA Cup, one in the Community Shield and three in the League Cup.
In his latest appearance against Fulham, Diaz scored twice in his side’s 2-0 win that sent Pep Guardiola‘s men through to the quarter-final, his first two goals as a professional player.
“We are happy to have him with us, we will do everything to keep him here… but it is he who decides,” Guardiola said.
“We want to protect him and help him. The opinion we have of him is very good but in the end, he is competing with [Raheem] Sterling, [Leroy] Sane, [Riyad] Mahrez and Bernardo [Silva].
“It will be hard for him to get minutes and he knew that from the beginning of the season and wanted to stay.”
The player did have offers to leave on loan during the month of August but that meant renewing his contract and moving away from the first team dynamic.
Interestingly, Diaz could also have been at the World Cup in Russia this summer, albeit with Morocco.
Coach Herve Renard tried to convince the Spaniard to change allegiance to the country of his paternal grandparents and he would be taken to the World Cup but he made the decision to continue representing La Roja.
“He is the future of the national team,” was the massive praise heaped upon him by David Silva and he has been a regular in the youth sides for his country.
Last season, he debuted with the Under-21 side and at the age of 18 years and 28 days, became the third youngest player to do so, behind only Jorge Mere and Bojan Krkic.
His goal for next summer is to be at the European Championships.
Although against Fulham he played on the right wing, most of his opportunities have came on the left flank, while he can also play as a No. 10 or even a forward.
His ability to shoot and pass with either foot also makes him a dangerous and versatile attacking outlet.