Spanish giants Barcelona recently poached one of Arsenal’s hottest young talents, and now the Gunners are looking to return the favour with the help of Raul Sanllehi.
According to The Sun, Arsene Wenger’s side are eyeing up 15-year-old striker Pablo Moreno, whose contract in Catalonia expires at the end of the season, after Marcus McGuane moved in the other direction last week.
Moreno has impressed for the Barcelona youth team and the Spanish Under 16’s as the top scorer of his age group.
If Moreno were to make the move from La Masia to London, he would be following in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin who also moved to the English capital as teenagers. Fabregas spent 8 years at Arsenal and developed into one of the great midfielders in Arsenal history before returning to Barcelona in 2011 in a deal worth up to 34 million euros, certainly a solid return on Arsenal’s initial, most likely nominal investment. At the time of Fabregas’ return to Barcelona, he topped Xavi and Andres Iniesta in goals, assists and chances created for the previous five years, a summation of the impact he had at Arsenal.
Bellerin is perhaps yet to hit the heights that were expected of him and that were laid down by the success of Fabregas before him, but he has worked his way up become Arsenal’s unquestioned starting right back and when he’s in full flight is dangerous for opposing defences using his electrifying pace down the wing. He still has plenty of room to grow with his end product when in crossing positions and his defensive discipline still question marks, but he’s hardly the only player guilty of the second of those offenses at the Emirates and is still only 22. He has certainly shown enough quality over his time at the club to command a large transfer fee if he were ever to leave Arsenal, especially in the wing-back-happy era Pep Guardiola has helped to usher in across the Premier League and abroad.
Even if Moreno does make his way to North London, Arsenal fans shouldn’t expect to see him on the pitch right away, Fabregas and Bellerin both took a few years to settle in England and make their way through the youth ranks to the first team, it will likely be no different for the still adolescent Moreno.
If Pablo Moreno does decide to walk away from Barcelona when his contract runs out in the summer, I’m sure he will have plenty of suitors, but if he does choose Arsenal, he has two great examples of the path his career could take, only time will tell if the promising young striker can match or exceed the standards set by Wenger’s previous Spanish imports.