Arsenal and Liverpool are among the clubs hoping to lure forward Toni Sanabria away from Barcelona, who has a release clause of €3 million, according to reports in the Daily Star.
La Liga rules prevent Spanish clubs from offering professional contracts to any players under the age of 18, meaning that Sanabria’s Premier League suitors could activate the release clause written into his current youth deal.
The Catalan giants boss Gerardo Martino is reportedly keen to tie the striker down to a new deal before the English sides have the opportunity to intervene.
The reports claim that the Gunners are interested in luring the Paraguay international to England and they may be forced to step up their efforts after the Catalans opened talks over a new contract to try and persuade the youngster to commit his long-term future to the club. Barcelona are keen to avoid him becoming the next youngster to jump off their production line and into a lucrative Premier League contract.
Arsenal have raided the Barcelona’s youth team on several occasions snapping up Fran Merida, Hector Bellerin, Jon Toral and most famously, Cesc Fabregas in the past, while Liverpool were able to persuade Sergi Canos to make the move to Anfield earlier in the year.
Sanabria was born in Paraguay and played for three years with the youth team of Cerro Porteno. But due to economic difficulties in his native country he was forced to move to Catalan coastal town of Sitges. After moving to Spain in 2007, the striker began playing for local side CF Blanca Subur, a place where he quickly found his feet and began to impress, catching the eye of the Barcelona scouts.
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He has also recently been promoted to the Catalan clubs B side that plays in the Segunda Liga, Spanish football’s second tier. He has trained with Gerardo Martino’s senior team this season, but has so far found opportunities limited. He has already been capped twice by Paraguay after making his debut in a 3-3 draw with Germany back in August, and is seemingly ready for senior football.
He has often been described as the recent jewel of the Barcelona academy and is ready to move on in search of more playing time. He is a striker who is lightning fast, and has the technical ability to slot into Arsenal’s slick passing style of football. He isn’t the type of signing we need at present as he will not really affect the Gunners immediately but he will be an exciting prospect for the future.
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