According to Metro Sport, Barcelona youngster, Joel Lopez has stated that he is leaving the Catalan giants this summer, increasing speculation that he could be set for an imminent switch to Arsenal. The Gunners have been linked to the classy 15-year-old leftback, who is regarded as one of the brightest talents in the La Masia youth system.
Despite the fact that some Barcelona staff tried to persuade him to further his development at the Camp Nou, it is believed that he sees Arsenal as a faster way to get to the top as Barcelona have changed their youth philosophy in recent years.
The 15-year-old took to Instagram to announce his farewell message.
Ha llegado el día de despedirme de lo que ha sido mi casa estos últimos 7 años. Gracias al FCBarcelona, será el club que siempre lleve en el corazón por momentos maravillosos que he vivido con mis Compañeros, Fisios, Entrenadores, Delegados, Directivos.. Gente magnífica que ha hecho sentirme acogido desde el primer día. Ha sido una decisión difícil pero tras contemplarla junto a mi familia he tomado la decisión de marchar y comenzar una nueva etapa como futbolista con mucha ilusión. Gracias a todos los que habéis estado ahí siempre ¡Visca el Barça!🔵🔴
As culled from The Metro, a loose translation goes thus: ‘The day has come to say goodbye to what has been my home these last 7 years,’ Lopez told his followers on Instagram. ‘Thanks to Barcelona, it will be the club that I always carry in my heart for wonderful moments that I have lived with my friends, coaches, delegates, executives.
‘Magnificent people who have made me feel welcome from the first day. ‘It was a difficult decision but after contemplating it with my family I made the decision to go and start a new stage as a footballer with great enthusiasm.
‘Thanks to all who have been there always Visca Barca!’
Despite being known as a club that embraces youth players and turn them to first team regulars, Los Cules have shifted from this philosophy in the last couple of years, instead buying players from all over the world for premium prices.
Lopez is one of the few youngsters that are set to leave Barcelona this summer, as more Spanish pleura are open to the possibility of leaving home for abroad. Lopez can look to the example of Hector Bellerin, who left Barcelona as a youngster and has now become an undisputed starter for the club. He is a left back that has been tipped to reach the very top of European football as he adept at both defensive and offensive duties.
While he won’t be a signing for the present, the buzz around his talent means that should he work hard and develop as thought, he could become a regular in the Gunners team in let’s say 4 or 5 years.