Arsenal Reportedly Close to Deal for Barca Youngster Joel Lopez

Joel Lopez
MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - APRIL 26: Joel Lopez Salguero of Barcelona controls the ball during the Final of the Santander Cup for U13 teams between FC Barcelona and VfB Stuttgart at Borussia Park Fohlenplatz on April 26, 2015 in Moenchengladbach, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Arsenal made their first signing of the Unai Emery era last week when Stephan Lichtsteiner joined the club on a free. Now, they are reportedly set for their second signing. However, this transfer would be for the youth ranks. Highly-rated Barcelona youngster Joel Lopez will apparently join the Gunners this summer, having rejected a new deal from the Catalonian side.

Joel Lopez Deal Close

The young man plays as a left-back and does not turn 16 until March 2019. As such, Arsenal would not have to pay a traditional transfer fee as he does not currently have a professional contract.

The Gunners would only need to provide Barca with a compensation fee, saving precious funds.

The Player

Joel Lopez is an offensive-minded full-back who is more mature than his 15 years would let on. He joined Barcelona at age seven but will leave after eight years to pursue what he calls a ‘very attractive sports project‘ in England.

While Arsenal have followed the youngster’s career closely, it was not until Raul Sanllehi joined that the deal looked likely. Sven Mislintat has already shown the sort of transfers he will get done for the club. He played a crucial role in bringing Konstantinos Mavropanos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the club this past January.

Meanwhile, the Joel Lopez deal, should it go through, proves that Sanllehi can attract players to north London.

Long-Term Answer?

The youngster may be the long-term answer for Arsenal at left-back. Nacho Monreal is past 30 and his contract will expire in 2019. Although, the club has an option to keep him until 2020. Ainsley Maitland-Niles has impressed at the position, however, he is a natural central midfielder.

While nothing is set in stone, the club will likely wish to see if the Englander can develop in the middle of the park. This would open, after Monreal does eventually leave, a window for Joel Lopez to make his mark.

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