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The €2 million Bernard alternative Arsenal may wish they signed...

Arsenal are widely claimed to be in for Brazilian sensation Bernard, even if it presently appears the starlet is now veering towards Porto or even Shakhtar.

But he is not the only star of the future who should have been on their radar, for a player currently impressing at youth international level could have been bought for less than 10 times the price.

Step forward Fede Vico, a left winger who is the star man of Spain's under-19 international team.

He has been playing alongside Arsenal prospect Hector Bellerin, with the pair teammates throughout qualification and the tournament proper.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Vico played at unfashionable Spanish side Cordoba, in the country's Segunda Division.

He had an impressive 2012/13 season, scoring six goals and providing seven assists, creating both goals in a memorable 2-0 Copa del Rey win over La Liga's fourth placed side Real Sociedad.

It was very much a breakthrough season, one rubber-stamped by his performances for Spain's under-19 side during qualification, scoring twice in three games - including a crucial winner over Poland. He is described by Marca as the 'mastermind' of the Spanish side.

The tournament proper is underway, with Vico again prominent in Spain's progression to the semi-finals, scoring in their 3-2 win over Holland in the group stages, and starting every match, while he has also played at under-20 level for his country.

The newly turned 19-year-old is on course for a successful career, but last month made an unusual transfer move for many a young Spanish footballer; he agreed a deal to move to Belgium.

Champions Anderlecht made a bid of just €2 million for his services which was accepted by Cordoba, and Vico agreed to the switch signing a five-year-deal. A sensational dribbler with an eye for goal and a devastating pass, his new side have quite a player on their hands.

Many an English club leave us wondering why they did not make a move for the young talent. Liverpool have been regular buyers from the Spanish market over recent years, as have Swansea City over the past 12 months; Vico would have been ideal for them.

But he also would have been a shrewd addition for Arsenal, with left wing a position they require reinforcements, which is why they are entertaining the possibility of signing Bernard.

Just because they have lots of money available, it means they can look at players like Bernard; but Vico would have been a perfectly viable long-term option, similar to their addition of French under-20 striker Yaya Sanogo.

Fans would rather see the club spend big-bucks on megastars, and Bernard is on his way to becoming one, but so too potentially is Fede Vico, just via an unusual route.

His career is one well worth keeping track of, for if he performs well in Belgium, it will not be long until he is snapped up for a sizeable fee of his own, and could well see clubs around the continent wish they had taken a gamble on him earlier.

Check him out in action below...

image: © fdecomite

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