Arsenal will face a tough battle to sign Barcelona starlet Antonio Sanabria with the Catalan giants eager to tie him down to a new contract, according to reports in Mirror.
The Paraguayan striker is regarded as one of the brightest talents at the prestigious La Masia academy and is believed to be highly regarded by members of the Gunners prolific scouting network.
The report states that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been tracking the teenager after he was highly recommended by his scouts. The Catalan side are desperately trying to renegotiate a new deal for the wonder kid to stop another teenager heading to north London.
Sanabria has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave for just £2.5 million and Manchester City and Juventus have also been tracking his progress. Gerardo Martino’s men are hoping to convince the 17 year old to sign a four-year extension to his current deal, which is currently due to expire in 2015. They are hoping to insert a hefty buyout clause to ensure that, if they do lose the Paraguay international in the future, they receive adequate financial compensation.
The Gunners have a healthy track record of signing youngsters from Barcelona most notably Cesc Fabregas, but also Jon Toral, Hector Bellerin, Fran Merida and Julio Pleguezuelo Selva.
He was born in Paraguay, and played for three years with the youth team of Cerro Porteno. Economic difficulties in his native country forced his mother to relocate the family to the Catalan coastal town of Sitges. After moving to Spain in 2007, the Paraguayan began playing for local side CF Blanca Subur, a place where he quickly found his feet and began to impress.
Sanabria has also recently been promoted to the Catalan clubs B side that plays in the Segunda Liga, Spanish football’s second tier. He excelled for the Juvenil A team last season, and would be familiar to viewers of the UEFA Next Gen series where Europe’s premiere youth teams competed against each other.
Despite his young age, he has already made his debut for the senior Paraguay national team in a friendly against Germany in August of this year, before his first competitive start versus Bolivia. He is lightning fast, and has the technical ability to slot into Arsenal’s slick, passing style of football.
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