Barcelona are set to lose another jewel from their La Masia setup, with youngster Joel Lopez set for a move to Premier League outfit Arsenal.
Spanish publication Sport are claiming that the La Masia exodus is set to continue at Barcelona, amid growing concern over a lack of definitive pathway into the first-team setup, unlike before. 15-year-old Joel Lopez is the latest one on the list, with the youngster tipped to be on the verge of joining Arsenal.
Barcelona have lost their firm grip on La Masia’s youngsters for a while now. The starlets have cited factors like restricted monetary terms, lack of path towards the first-team setup and dastardly, lack of interest and initiative in retaining the player’s services as the major events leading to their will to leave the club.
Sergio Gomez set the ball rolling when he joined Dortmund from Barcelona and the problem has since multiplied, with several others linked with a move away from the club. The player in question, according to the report from Sport, is 15-year-old Joel Lopez, who is widely regarded as one of the brightest up-and-coming defensive talents in Spain.
Joel Lopez is a left-back by trade. The 15-year-old has a contract expiring in the summer and had rejected an offer from Barcelona to extend his contract at the club and stay beyond the summer. Barcelona, unlike the previous situations, have made attempts to convince the player to stay with the club.
Transfers 📰 [SPORT] | Joel Lopez to Arsenal and Moreno to Juve
▫️Joel López, who plays for Barcelona’s U16s, has turned down an offer to renew with the club and will move to Arsenal
▫️Pablo Moreno has an agreement with Juventus pic.twitter.com/qbGiCoAbSC
— BarcaTimes (@BarcaTimes) June 10, 2018
There have been positive talks between the player, his representatives and the club’s officials as to a renewal. But, Lopez has chosen not to accept the renewal offer on table and instead move to the Premier League, with Arsenal offering better terms and a quicker pathway to senior football compared to Barcelona, with the club now resigned to receive just development rights from Arsenal in lieu of the player.
Arsenal have been interested in the 15-year-old for a while. If Barcelona’s youth setup has been giving them trouble, the exodus of youngsters from Arsenal have been equally rapid. Marcus McGuane was the latest name to exit Arsenal’s setup, with the player joining Barcelona.
Arsenal have had a history of bringing in youngsters from Barcelona and moulding them into superstars, with Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin both making their name with the Gunners.
Liverpool were also named as a suitor in the race to sign Joel Lopez, a race that Arsenal seem to have won. Barcelona will not be pleased with another departure from their youth setup and they must plug their gaps at the youth level, lest they may see even more talents leaving in search of better opportunities.