Report: Manchester City's Brahim Diaz Agrees to Sign Real Madrid Pre-Contract

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 25, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 25: Brahim Diaz of Manchester City during the International Champions Cup 2018 match between Manchester City and Liverpool at MetLife Stadium on July 25, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester City youngster Brahim Diaz has reportedly agreed to sign a pre-contract with Real Madrid in January in advance of joining the club for free next summer.

Diaz, 19, is in the final year of his contract at the Etihad Stadium, and El Chiringuito (h/t Dan O'Toole of the Manchester Evening News) said an agreement is already in place for him to guarantee his services to Los Blancos in 2019.

The teenager joined the Citizens academy from Malaga in 2013 and made his first-team debut in 2016. He scored twice in a 2-0 Carabao Cup fourth-round win over Fulham at the start of November, one of only two senior appearances this term.

Diaz is said to have grown disillusioned with his chances of a first-team future in Manchester and would prefer his odds at the Santiago Bernabeu, where former Castilla coach Santiago Solari was recently appointed manager.

Journalist Kieran Canning cited the same El Chiringuito panel and warned that while the rumour should be treated with caution, there is logic to back it up:

Kieran Canning @KieranCanning

Always treat Chiringuito with three tonne bags of salt, but Brahim Diaz to Madrid on a free would make sense given lack of playing time at City. Could be another Sancho case https://t.co/QZyzrPdFyE

It makes sense the Madrid giants would look for more frugal, young options in the transfer market. Joaquim Piera of Sport wrote that the Brazilian duo of Vinicius Junior, 18, and Rodrygo Goes, 17, had cost a combined €121 million, which is huge even by today's standards.

It's understandable that Diaz, an attacking midfielder and winger by nature, may look at manager Pep Guardiola's ranks and arrive at the conclusion that he'll struggle for opportunities.

Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva can occupy his favoured No. 10 role, while Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez offer more than ample competition on the wings.

That's without mentioning Phil Foden, 18 years old and the one City product making genuine impact on the senior team. However, even his prospects don't look too bright, journalist Rory Smith said in January:

Rory Smith @RorySmith

I know their positions aren’t *precisely* the same, but it doesn’t say much for Phil Foden’s prospects, or Brahim Diaz’s, does it? These are the only times young players - people they have invested in - might ever get chances. It’s very dispiriting.

Los Blancos have steep competition themselves, but Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos, both 22, are showing there is space for youth to grow in the club's current setup.

Diaz has long attracted attention in City's youth setup as one of its brightest jewels, but a youngster earning such plaudits also can't be expected to sit on the sidelines so long that it stunts their progress.

Simon Bajkowski of the Manchester Evening News recently pointed out Diaz hasn't necessarily been rewarded for the better work he's displayed this term:

Simon Bajkowski @spbajko

Brahim Diaz doesn't even make the squad after his two goals the other night, which shows where he stands in Guardiola's plans

Real could be on to a bargain if they do manage to clinch Diaz's signature on a free transfer, as City seemingly face a fight to convince their starlet to stay next year.