Arsene Wenger is eyeing up another Barcelona talent to add to his youth squad. The French manager has become a keen admirer of the La Masia students and has frequently taken young talents from the club before they sign their first professional contracts with Barcelona.
Cesc Fabregas is Wenger’s best example of how successful this tactic can be. Arsene paid £500,000 in compensation for Fabregas’ move to Arsenal from Barcelona when he was just 16. The midfielder was developed in to one of the Premier League’s greatest talents and one of the club’s greatest ever but was sold back to his boyhood club, however a profit of £35 million was made on his sale.
Since then Wenger has continually looked at the club’s youth squads to poach the next ‘Cesc Fabregas’ and currently has Hector Bellerin, Ignasi Miquel and Jon Toral in the Gunners youth ranks that made the trip from Spain to England.
Barcelona are angered each and every time Arsenal manage to prize away one of their star talents and have somewhat gotten revenge by stealing away first team players such as Thierry Henry, Aleksandr Hleb and Alex Song but are still unable to stop Wenger taking their youth players due to Spanish law not allowing youngsters to sign professional terms until they are 18.
Wenger has been linked with several of the Catalans first team including Victor Valdes, Dani Alves, Alexis Sanchez and David Villa but has made more alarming moves for their youngsters. Juan Pleguezuelo is nearing a move to the Gunners while the Londoners are also monitoring Antonio Sanabria. The Paraguayan is regarded highly in Barcelona but is too young to sign with the club professionally but could do so with the Gunners and Wenger’s reputation with young players makes Arsenal an attractive destination.
The Gunners are also eying a loan move for Gerard Deulofeu as the Barcelona B winger looks to earn first team football away from the Camp Nou next season.