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Real Madrid have interest in signing Celta Vigo’s Gabri Veiga

The Celta youngster is having a great season in LaLiga and Real Madrid are keen admirers.

The Celta youngster is having a great season in LaLiga and Real Madrid are keen admirers.

There is a flashing light that blinks on Madrid’s radar: Gabri Veiga’s name is gathering strength in the planning of the club for the 23/24 season. At just 20 years old, his explosion in the first division has not gone unnoticed within the shiny walls of the Santiago Bernabéu and his potential signing is, more and more, convincing those in charge.

In Madrid they like Gabri Veiga: they reckon that he is a player with a bright future (he has already made his debut with the u-21 Spain team and was on Luis de la Fuente’s pre-list for the full squad) and one that is financially accessible: despite his contract running until 2026, his release clause is ‘only’ €40 million ($43 million). And he scores goals (9).

Gabri Veiga is well liked by those at the Santiago Bernabéu.
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Gabri Veiga is well liked by those at the Santiago Bernabéu.PressinphotoGetty

A homegrown talent

His homegrown tag also must be taken into consideration: in Madrid this is also seen as a positive in order to increase the number of Spanish players in the squad.

If there is something that stands out in Gabri Veiga’s numbers, it is his goal-scoring talents, despite being a midfielder. He is Celta Vigo’s second-highest scorer this season (9 goals; Aspas has 12) and he also has 3 assists. These numbers place him with Europe’s best and even more so when you consider his playing time: he gets a goal or an assist every 126 minutes.

His contribution to the team has not diminished even with the arrival of Carlos Carvalhal - who has played him in a deeper, double pivot role, alongside Fran Beltrán - it has increased: he got 3 goals in 12 games with the previous manager and has 6 under the current coach.

Madrid’s summer departures are key

Whether or not Madrid launch an all-out offensive to sign the player is dependent on what happens to their midfield over the summer, as Modric, Kroos and Ceballos all come to an end of their contracts this season. The Croatian publicly said that he would like to extend his deal if, at 37, he keeps up his level of performance, which is is doing. There is less clarity regarding the futures of Kroos and Ceballos, and if one of them decides not to continue, the push for Gabri Veiga will take a step up the list of things for Madrid to do.

Spanish sides are not the only ones sending love letters to Veiga

The main competitors for the centre-midfielder, as you may have guessed, come from the Premier League. Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United have all followed the youngster for a while and recently Newcastle have also joined the group of admirers. Unlike in LaLiga, given what money the Premier League sloshes around, €40 million is seen as a ‘bargain’ and not at all a deterrent. As a reference, over the past few years, a total of 9 under-21 players have arrived for fees of over €50 million.

Therein lies the risk for Madrid. If one of the Premier League teams stands firm and offers Celta a bigger offer, then Madrid will not go crazy and enter a dangerous bidding war. According to radio station, Cadena SER, Madrid are currently willing to offer €25 million ($27 million) plus Real Madrid B-team player, Rafa Marín.

The player himself has started to make moves and recently left the agency he was with in order to join up with Pini Zahavi. The Israeli is one of the most famous agents of the transfer market and, among others, represents Robert Lewandowski and was involved in the deal that brought Neymar to PSG.

Veiga would be another Spaniard in the squad

His transfer would also serve to reinforce the presence of national team players in the first team after a season in which Ancelotti’s side have fielded a starting XI without a single Spaniard for the first time in their history. Madrid have not signed a Spanish player since Brahim Díaz is 2019; his return to the club is also an option.

The most used Spaniards in the squad are Carvajal (31-years-old), Nacho (33-years-old) and Lucas Vázquez (31-years-old), who are all above 30. The futures of two others, Ceballos (26) and Asensio (27), are less clear. Veiga’s arrival would rejuvenate the middle of the pitch and give more of a Spanish flavour to the team.

Gabri Veiga's current deal with Celta de Vigo runs until 2026.
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Gabri Veiga's current deal with Celta de Vigo runs until 2026.Adrián SantamarinaDiario AS

Atlético Madrid are also keen

In the offices of Atlético Madrid they are also well aware of the explosion of Gabri Veiga yet they equally understand the difficulty of bringing in the young star, mostly due to the economic factor. Despite this, they have informally registered interest.

The Galician is very well liked at Atlético Madrid. If the club were to push for his signature, they know that competing in a straight foot race to the highest fee would be impossible, and that they would have to convince the player by other means. Atlético Madrid’s squad is set to undergo a huge shift in the summer and central midfielders are going to be leaving the club: here is where Gabri Veiga could have a stronger guarantee of minutes than in other places. As well as this, any potential deal could include Riquelme, Lino or Manu Sánchez going the other way.

For now, it is nothing more than a temptation and an impossible €40 million release clause, but Atleti want to be considered when the time comes for Celta to let their newly hatched joy free from the nest.