Arsenal are reportedly set to pip Italian giants Roma to the signing of Barcelona starlet Antonio Sanabria, according to reports in the Daily Mail.
The 17 year old is regarded as one of the brightest talents at the prestigious La Masia academy and the striker has been scoring goals for fun in the Barcelona youth set up, and has already won three senior caps for Paraguay.
The young forward has become involved in a contract dispute with the Catalan club as he believes his performances at youth level have done enough to earn him some playing time for the first team. However, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez and Neymar ahead of him in the pecking order, it looks as though Sanabria has opted for a move away from the Nou Camp to further his career.
The reports suggests Arsenal and Roma have made offers to the Barcelona teenager and his representatives held meetings on Wednesday. Arsenal are deemed favourites to pip the Italians to his signature once they trigger the player’s £2.5 million buyout clause next month.
The Gunners have raided Barcelona for many young talents over the years including the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Jon Toral, Hector Bellerin and Jose Plezeguelo with great success, taking advantage of Spain’s rule for under 18’s unable to sign professional contracts.
Sanabria was born in Paraguay, and played for three years with the youth team of Cerro Porteno but 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 striker began playing for local side CF Blanca Subur, a place where he quickly found his feet and began to impress.
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He has only 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, where his work ethic and professionalism have impressed even former Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova. During the summer, a series of eye catching displays for Paraguay in the U-20 World Cup in Turkey alerted a host of top European clubs including Arsenal.
He is undoubtedly a very rare, physical talent who is a strong runner, fast and skilful with the ball at his feet. He’s got a thing for scoring from range and for fantastic solo goals. This transfer might not effect Arsenal’s title race this season but Sanabria is apparently one of the best players to come out of the famous La Masia academy recently and seems to posses an abundance of talent. He would be a smart signing for the future.
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