16-year-old Spanish defender, Joel Lopez, becomes another player to leave La Masia, Barca’s academy, after rejecting a new agreement.
Barcelona had shown strong resistance to the idea of letting the 16-year-old leave, but last month the teenager had confirmed his decision of leaving the club by writing a heartfelt message to his followers informing them about his decision of leaving Barcelona.
— LTArsenal™ (@ltarsenal) July 18, 2018
16-year-old Spanish defender bidding farewell to Barcelona and the famed La Masia academy said to this to his followers :
“The day has come to say goodbye to what has been my home these last 7 years,”
“Thanks to Barcelona, it will be the club that I always carry in my heart for wonderful moments that I have lived with my friends, coaches, delegates, executives; magnificent people who have made me feel welcome from the first day.
It was a difficult decision but after contemplating it with my family I made the decision to go and start a new stage as a footballer with great enthusiasm,”
“Thanks to all who have been there always Visca Barca!“
So why Arsenal?
Liverpool were one of the clubs who also wanted the signature of Joel Lopez bringing him to English Premier League, but Gunners have continuously been approaching the Catalan Club in order to get the wonderkid; so constant pursuit from Arsenal and Raul Sanllehi(Arsenal’s Head of Relations) who is from Catalonia himself, stepping in between has led this deal to happen in the first place.
It was highly anticipated that Joel Lopez would move to Emirates and now the deal seems to be finalized as the teenager updated his Instagram bio as “Football Player Arsenal FC.” However, the transfer has not been completed yet, therefore, the kid again updated his Instagram bio and removed “Football Player Arsenal FC.”
Once the deal is formally completed, Joel Lopez will become the 4th youth player to move from Barcelona to Arsenal, following the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas, Jon Toral, and Hector Bellerin.
Just like how Arsenal was looking for Joel Lopez, in the same manner, Sam Greenwood signed for Gunners from Sunderland earlier this month. Now both the players will join the academy manager Per Mertesacker and will play for the under-18 team and eventually turn up for under-23 to senior team.
This is a great opportunity for the teenager to impress the club and also this is a great deal for Arsenal as the addition of Joel Lopez to the under-18 team is just going to strengthen their squad. However, the 16-year-old left-back will be signing a scholarship deal but is yet to sign a professional contract, which would be presented to him the day he turns 17.
This signing will be really important for Gunners as their current left back Dominic Thompson just got into the under-23 squad. Hence, Arsenal needed a new left-back, and the signing of Joel Lopez would be the perfect replacement namely for two major reasons: firstly he is from La Masia academy and secondly he is a talented youngster.
The teenage kid will start with the under-18 team but it is expected that he will soon be joining the under-23 team before the season ends. The transfers between La Masia and Colney have not always been great. For instance, Jon Toral has writhed to make his mark at the Emirates’ first team and therefore, it would be a challenge for Joel Lopez as well.
He would be looking forward to following the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin who turned out to be impactful players over the years for Arsenal rather than the likes of Fran Merida or Jon Toral.
I think if this signing happens it would be great for both for the player and the team, as it would upgrade for Gunners squad. Moreover Arsenal have hardly anything to loose here, the investment is completely insignificant for them and yet the reward albeit with very low odds are just too much to not take a chance on.
He might not go on to become a Roberto Carlos but if goes on to develop and establish himself in the team as hector Bellerin has that alone in it self is worth any trouble that he can possible cause in 10 lifetimes.