According to Sport, Arsenal have agreed a deal with Barcelona for Joel Lopez. Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi is believed to have played a key role in bringing the highly-rated defender to the Emirates, say Football.London.
Barca desperately tried to keep the youngster but were told he wasn’t signing a new deal. And as Lopez does not have a professional contract, Arsenal will only have to pay the Liga side a compensation fee.
Following in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas, Hector Bellerin, Fran Merida, Ignasi Miquel and Jon Toral who went from the Nou Camp to the Emirates, Lopez will develop in the academy, working alongside Per Mertesacker and Marcel Lucassen, the new Head of Coach and Player development.
We reported in May that Liverpool tried to sign the Barcelona defender bus was persuaded to reject their advances by Sanllehi, who was previously the Director of Football at the Catalan side.
It may be a number of years before fans see Lopez in the Arsenal first-team, but the interest in his signature from many clubs this summer is testament to his current ability and potential. The Gunners pride themselves on developing young talent, and the promising left-back could become a mainstay if all goes well.