Arsenal have secured the signing of Barcelona youth ace Joel Lopez after the 16-year-old rejected a contract from the Catalonians, according to reports.
The teenager has been part of the Camp Nou set up for over a decade, progressing through La Masia to become a promising defensive talent in Catalonia.
However, according to SPORT, the left back has elected to leave Barca this summer after being offered a new deal at the La Liga champions in favour of a move to the Gunners in order to further his playing prospects.
The report claims that, in a similar way to how Arsenal landed Cesc Fabregas in 2003, there will be a mandatory payment to cover the player’s training rights, but there will be no transfer fee.
Once finalised, Lopez will become new Arsenal boss Unai Emery’s second signing of the transfer window, after the Spaniard snapped up Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Juventus.
Arsenal’s defensive frailties were well documented during the recently concluded campaign, with the Gunners eventually scraping Europa League football after a terrible away run.
However, Emery is thought to be keen on shoring up some of the weaker areas of the squad Arsene Wenger left behind, and is focusing on youth to do so, with highly-rated 17-year-old Paris Saint-Germain attacking midfielder Yacine Adli also said to be inbound – although the Frenchman’s move has been cast into some doubt over the weekend.