Leicester and Barcelona look set to compete for the signing of highly rated Roma youngster Antonio Sanabria.
According to Spanish publication Sport, Leicester City have joined La Liga winners FC Barcelona in the race to sign 20-year-old striker Antonio Sanabria from A.S. Roma. The highly rated Paraguayan striker had a breakout season on loan with Spanish outfit Sporting Gijon, bagging 11 goals in 29 matches (WhoScored). Given his relative young age, he can prove to be a valuable addition at the two clubs.
A move to the Catalan giants would be a dream come true for any budding football player. With the promise shown by the youngster in Spain, it’s no surprise that one of the region’s top clubs has shown an interest in him. In signing him, Barcelona would look to secure an option for the future. Sanabria would be a deputy for Luis Suarez, play the odd cup ties and would mostly come on as a sub.
However, during his days at Barca’s youth academy, Sanabria rejected the chance to play for the first team, and decided to move to Italy in order to clock regular minutes on the field of play. With the Catalan club unable to provide that guarantee at the time being, a move to Leicester City may be on the cards.
Most goals & assists by U21 players in 2015/16:
D. Alli (19)
O. Dembélé (17)
D. Berardi (all 11)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 20, 2016
As reported earlier, Leicester striker Jamie Vardy is set to complete a move to Arsenal, leaving the side in dire need of attacking options. While Leonardo Ulloa and Shinji Okazaki have contributed to a fair-share of goals for the club, they have lacked the consistency to be regular providers, and have been more effective in coming off the bench rather than playing the entirety of the match .
In signing Sanabria, Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri would add a young, yet proven goal scorer to his ranks. The Paraguayan would easily fit into the 4-4-2 setup at the King Power Stadium. While his parent club Roma has ruled out a re-union with the youngster, Champions League football at Leicester would certainly be an interesting prospect.
Sanabria must pick Leicester City over FC Barcelona
As inspiring and tempting a move to the five time European champions might be, it wouldn’t be in the best interests of the player. Regular playing time could potentially work wonders in the progress of a youngster’s game, and that is exactly what Sanabria needs now. Having been a key member of Gijon’s first team, the role of only a squad player would dearth the progress of the striker.
With a not so decorated past at Barcelona and zero guarantee of time on the pitch, a move to Leicester City makes a lot of sense for the 20-year-old. He would certainly bolster the Leicester attack and give them much needed firepower with Vardy set to leave. Even if the club manages to keep hold of the prolific striker, Sanabria could work in tandem with the Englishman.
Claudio Ranieri would be intent on proving that Leicester’s title claim was not a one-season-wonder and by signing a young and potent striker, the Italian would be taking strides in the right direction. Their counter-attacking style of play would suit Sanabria, who is known for his pace and admirable dribbling abilities. It would also be the right age to move to the England as he could quickly adapt to the fast-paced and physical nature of the Premier League.