The Blaugrana youngster was supposed to join the senior side after his promising shows with the B-team but has apparently rejected a deal to force an Arsenal move
Barcelona’s La Masia academy may not have the next Lionel Messi or Andres Iniesta coming up through, but it certainly produced a prodigy in Joel Lopez. The 15-year old teen has markedly impressed with the junior side and was set to be offered a deal by the club that would also promote him the first team after sometime.
But before such a thing could be tabled, Lopez has apparently made up his mind to join Arsenal. He vetoed the idea of putting the pen to paper and his contract rejection now offers a leeway to the Premier League side, who were waiting in the wings to pillage him and bring to the Highbury.
Barcelona apparently did everything they could to convince Lopez to stay, but have now resigned to his departure. Arsenal are said to be chasing the youngster for several months and the arrival of Raul Senllehi as the scouting chief only accelerated the deal.
Even though it isn’t made official, the left-back has already told Barcelona that he’s joining Arsenal, who only have to pay the compensation fee as he’s only 15. A professional contract would be in March next year when he turns 16.
The decision is a bold one, but isn’t new. The likes of Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin are some of the other well-known Barcelona academy graduates who joined Arsenal to continue their development, and as history has it, would later become first-team stars with the senior side.
Lopez would be hoping to follow in their footsteps and break into Arsenal’s team someday.
With Barcelona’s transfer policy completely changing from promoting academy graduates to luring top stars from across the globe, Lopez might have made a wise decision to move away. Munir El Haddadi and Gerard Deulofeu are some of the youngsters who haven’t enjoyed much success with the first team despite their talents, and are left to hop from one loan spell to another.
Lopez then, can soundly continue nurturing his talent with Arsenal and find opportunities with the Gunner one day.