We reported on Tuesday evening that Arsenal were closing in on the signing of Joel Lopez from Barcelona and it appears supporters rate him highly and believe the Catalan giants have made a real misstep in letting him leave.
Big loss for Barca…
— ¿ (@JSHlad) May 22, 2018
Such a promising young talent. Been highlighted as one of standout players in La Masia’s U16’s graduates. They mentioned he’s got a very bright future ahead of him
— #Shazback (@MysticMO11_v2) May 22, 2018
The 15-year-old turned down Liverpool to join the Gunners, with Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi being credited for helping to persuade him. Sanllehi left Barcelona for Arsenal in February and has been working with Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat to bring in talented players.
I think this is a key area where the Raul and Sven network and relationships will prove hugely beneficial moving forward
— Amiel Walia (@Amiel468) May 22, 2018
Raul and his connections. Hopefully he can strike a deal with dembele. We need wide players with pace
— Rob (@robafc18) May 22, 2018
Happy to see his connections are allowing us to get ahead of our competitors and have an advantage
— Mel 💫✨ (@ShelovesOzil) May 22, 2018
Sanllehi working his magic
— Gooner_esque (@winfieldlloyd) May 22, 2018
Lopez is rated highly and could be followed by Roberto Navarro, whom the Gunners have reportedly also made an approach for this summer.
— London Sources™ (@LondonSources) May 22, 2018
As for Lopez, the let-back is one of many La Masia stars who could be leaving Barcelona this summer, as the challenge of rising through the youth ranks to the first-team has become impossible in recent years.
Arsenal won’t be bothered, as they’ve frequently poached from the Spanish giants in the past – Cesc Fabregas, Hector Bellerin, Fran Merida, Ignasi Miquel, Jon Toral. If he does join the Gunners, Lopez would be wise to get tips off Bellerin on how to make the transition from a youth player to a first-teamer.
The 23-year-old joined Arsenal from Barcelona as a teenager who has now become one of the best fullbacks in the Premier League and made over 160 appearances in all competitions for the London outfit.