15-year-old La Masia wonderkid Joel Lopez appears to have announced his Barcelona exit on his Instagram account.
The central defender had been extended a chance to sign a new deal with the Spanish champions, but is believed to have turned down Barcelona's offer. Reports that the youngster will move to the red side of north London have gathered traction, as he lines up a professional contract for next season.
Lopez is likely on his way to link up with new teammates at the Arsenal training centre in London Colney. Lately, rumours had suggested a possible move to Premier League rivals Liverpool was on the cards. However, the Metro reports that Arsenal's representative in Catalonia, Raul Sanllehi, has sealed a deal for the Gunners.
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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!🔵🔴
The starlet took to his Instagram page and thanked all for his journey with La Blaugrana, saying: "The day has come to say goodbye to what has been my home these last 7 years.
"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...Thanks to all who have been there always Visca Barca!"
Following in a path not too dissimilar to current Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas, Lopez will hope to show his potential in London. With Fabregas making his Arsenal debut at age 16, Lopez may be optimistic that the Gunners' previous model of allowing young talent a chance in League Cup fixtures still holds true.
Although it is unlikely that Lopez will see first team action at Arsenal in the next few seasons, this adds another piece to new boss Unai Emery's puzzle. With this his fourth signing of the window, and Sampdoria's Lucas Torreira likely unveiled later this week, the coach has acted quickly in snapping up transfer targets.