Arsenal could be about to sign Barcelona hot prospect Toni Sanabria in a move that mirrors the transfer of Cesc Fabregas over 10 years ago after the 17-year-old’s agent admitted a move to the Gunners appears imminent.
Sanabria is one of many young and talented stars coming through the Catalan’s academy, although he appears to be ready to head to north London after holding talks with the current Premier League leaders.
The Paraguayan striker has also attracted attention from Italian side Roma, but the Gunners are said to be prepared to shell out the required £300,000 compensation to sign Sanabria in a move that would image Fabregas, Fran Merida, Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral.
Sanabria’s agent Raul Verdu confirmed: “Our contacts with Arsenal are advanced and I expect a solution in the next week.”
The Gunners will also have to gain clearance from the Football Association and the Royal Spanish Football Federation, but they are prepared to meet Barcelona officials next week to complete the move.
Fabregas moved to Arsenal on a free transfer at the age of 16, and went on to make his debut in 2003 before earning a place in Arsene Wenger’s first team. When the club’s record goalscorers and captain Thierry Henry headed to Barcelona, Wenger appointed Fabregas as captain, having already formed a close bond with the Gunners’ faithful.
Toral joined the club in 2011, and he remains among the youth ranks having progressed through the development programme while impressing along the way. However, he did spend the bulk of last season on the sidelines through injury. Defender Bellerin joined the club at the same time as Toral, but having made a number of appearances for the reserves he was shipped out on loan to Championship side Watford until January.
The Gunners thought they had picked up another gem in Fran Merida when he joined in 2005, but despite making a few impressive performances in the League Cup, he failed to push on anad earn a place in the first team. He eventually moved on in 2010 when he joined Atletico Madrid, and he now currently plays for Atletico Paranaense.
The latest Spanish import was Julio Pleguezuelo, who moved to the Emirates in the summer. The defender has been labelled as the ‘next Carlos Puyol’, although the 16-year-old is a long way off featuring regularly. However, Wenger will hope that he flourishes into his full potential as he he works his way through the ranks.