Back in the day, Arsenal made a successful habit of raiding La Masia and offering the cream of Barcelona’s young crop a fast-track to first-team football.
Now, the Mail on Sunday claims the Gunners are once again set to return to tempt 15-year-old Robert Navarro to north London. It won’t be straightforward; Manchester City are equally interested in a player highly-regarded by the Barcelona hierarchy.
Arsenal previously took Cesc Fabregas, Fran Merida and Hector Bellerin, among others from Catalunya and Barcelona are keen to avoid a repeat. Famously, incoming Blaugrana president at the time, Joan Laporta, was a left a note by his predecessor stating “You can explain this one”, attached to Fabregas’ file.
The club has opened talks with the youngster to persuade him to stay at La Masia.
Barcelona are hampered by Spanish law which means they cannot offer Navarro a professional deal for another two years. He can, however, move to an English club for a training fee and sign his first professional contract.
Arsenal boss is confident of recruiting the youngster, citing his proven track record of bringing youth through to the first-team. Another example came at St James Park when Chris Willock made his Premier League debut against Newcastle United this afternoon.