There was a time when the Catalan media would get incredibly angry at Arsenal for snatching away La Masia products.
All kinds of accusations would be sent towards the ‘vultures’ in London, and there was annoyance that whilst Arsenal took away Barcelona talent for free, the Catalan club always seemed to have to overpay if they wanted a Gunner.
That’s calmed down a lot now, because other clubs have become more proficient vultures than Arsenal. Manchester City have taken a string of La Masia talents, and AS Monaco are currently causing anger with their outright targeting of Barca’s youth systems.
But that doesn’t mean Arsenal have given up. Joel Lopez, 16 years of age, will become a Gunner, report Mundo Deportivo, and he’s one of several youngsters set to leave Barcelona.
It’s still a general worry for the Spanish side and clubs from around Europe continue to tempt away the best youngsters by offering financial packages which Barca can’t match within the restrictions on youth contracts.
There’s been a growing acceptance in recent years that’s it’s not only money making players move, but a more detailed career plan than it’s felt they’re getting in Spain.
On the next to leave, Mundo Deportivo explains: ‘The greats of Europe already offer succulent offers and Barca cannot compete on many occasions. This year there is confirmed two casualties in this category. The one of Joel Lopez, left back that goes to the Arsenal, and the one of Pablo Moreno, forward who will sign for Juventus.’