The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may raid the Spanish giants Barcelona for one of their academy graduates. If he does prove successful, it certainly will not be the first time he’s poached a Barca youngster.
The starlet in question is Sergi Samper and it is being reported that the player is considering a move to Premier League. Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is desperate to keep him but knows that it would be a tall task to do so. The 20-year-old is under contract with the Spanish club until 2017 but is targeting a starting berth. Just like every player in Spain, he has a buyout clause too which is set at a very enticing £8.5 million.
The transfer fees these days are very inflated and do not represent the actual value of the player. And these are generally inflated in the upward direction. Unlike that, Samper’s buyout clause is very encouraging for any club to consider signing him. That explains why even Porto is interested in the player – even though only on loan.
Samper wants to be a regular starter in the opening XI but his path to the team is blocked by Sergi Busquets who almost owns the central midfield position. He was part of the Barca B team last season but the team was relegated to the third tier of Spanish football. So, if Samper spends another season at Barcelona it would mean spending time in the lower league.
Central midfield at Arsenal is not exactly up for grabs because of the emergence of Francis Coquelin, but he could certainly act as cover for Mikel Arteta who is rarely fit nowadays. The midfielder showed great potential last season and made the position his own saving Wenger one big headache. He hopes to land Samper at the second time of asking, having unsuccessfully tried to sign him in 2011. Wenger tried to bring Samper and Hector Bellering together but ended up with only Bellerin joining the club.
Samper is a classic holding midfielder and there is no denying the class he can bring to any side – after all, he graduated from the famed Barcelona academy. He joined the club as a 6 year old and it would take a lot from Wenger to land the midfielder.
If Wenger actually ends up signing Samper, it would be another steal from the Nou Camp. Cesc Fabregas (2003), Fran Merida (2005) and Jon Toral (2011) all ended up at the Emirates Stadium apart from Bellerin.
May be that’s what is making the Catalonia team paranoid. They would prefer Samper ending up on loan at Porto. But, if Wenger is serious about signing Samper and stumps up the asking price, there could be one more Barca academy starlet landing in North London.