Scouts check on Canales
Interest mounts in Spanish starlet
By Francisco Acedo. Last Updated: 19/01/10 9:07am
Four Premier League clubs travelled to Spain at the weekend to check on starlet Sergio Canales.
The Racing Santander midfielder is being heralded as the next big thing in Spain after a string of impressive displays.
Real Madrid have already attempted to seal a deal for services, but as yet nothing has been agreed.
It is understood that Real are leading the race, but Arsenal too are very keen to lure him to England.
During Racing's weekend clash with Real Valladolid, the club have confirmed to skysports.com that scouts from Arsenal, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton were present at El Sardinero.
Together with the English clubs, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich and Monaco are also present.
The player is being strongly linked with a move in the summer, but sources close to the 18-year-old suggest he will remain in Santander for another year at least.
Meanwhile, Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff has told Canales he should stay at Racing for as long as he can.
"I don't know if he will end up signing for Madrid or not, or for any other big club. The only thing that I hope is that, being so young, he isn't ruined," he said.
"With the youngsters at Ajax who excelled in the first team and who were the targets of big clubs outside of Holland, my advice was always the same: stay at least until you are 21, and if you stay until 23, then even better.
"First get used to the pressure of winning in your own country, and that will then stand you in good stead for playing abroad.
"At 18 years old and with only a few games in the Primera Division, joining a big club is attractive, but it carries a risk because the destination is not the youth team.
"At 18 you have so much to learn, as a person and as a footballer, so if you leave for a big club too soon your development isn't complete and you could end up going backwards. So much so that you could end up being ruined. There are exceptions, yes, but that's what they are, exceptions.
"I already know that he (Canales) could sign (for a big club) and then go out on loan. That's a less aggressive option, but it also has its risks.
"Football is a short career, but not so short. If you have quality at 18 and you do things well, you have a mountain of years ahead of you.
"At 18 you don't need many zeros in your bank account. What you need is to play and develop. And if it is in the Primera Division, then better, and that is where he already is. There is time to earn money with a big team, especially if you are 18."