Barcelona teenager Sergi Samper is interested in a move to Arsenal, as he continues to be on the fringes at the Catalan club.
This is the claim of the Daily Mirror who cite reports in Spain to say that the young midfielder will welcome the opportunity of making a switch to the North London club, and that the Gunners are pondering activating his £8.5m release clause.
Arsenal made an approach to sign the Spaniard during the summer, but decided to back out later. Now the aforementioned source are claiming Samper, 20, is frustrated at his lack of first team opportunity and the Gunner’s boss Arsene Wenger could do with a player of Samper’s style.
The French tactician has only one top quality defensive midfielder in Francis Coquelin to call upon, and in recent weeks when the French player was out injured, Arsenal’s midfield shield was clearly exposed.
Although Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta are two players who Wenger can call upon but the duo are ageing and as such can not cope with the fast pace of the Premier League. Besides, neither of them have the strength, dynamism and defensive instincts currently possessed by Coquelin.
Therefore, Samper, being 20, has the potential to fit in as Coquelin’s back-up in the middle of the park, should the Frenchman suffer an injury or face suspension. Although he is not as combative as Coquelin, Samper has great vision and is not afraid to go into a tackle. His composure when distributing the ball is also brilliant.
Samper will certainly want to leave Nou Camp as, despite the recent injury problems of Andres Iniesta and Rafinha, he has still been overlooked by boss Luis Enrique for a first-team feature.
One disturbing thing is it is still unknown whether Samper – who has earned comparisons with first-team DM Sergio Busquets -can perform at the highest level because he has not been giving a chance of featuring for the Barça first team.
Spain-based sports journalist Juan Arango believes the European champions should give more chance to youths. [@JuanG_Arango] tweeted: “If La Masia is still that great, want to see even more of the kids Barça have to play now. It’s their time to shine.”
Should Samper sign for Arsenal, it would be a shameful thing of the part of Barça. It would mean an exit for another La Masia graduate after the summer exits of Adama Traore and Gerard Deulofeu.
For Arsenal, it would represent a brilliant coup although it could take time for the 20-year old to get acquainted with the aggressive nature of the Premier League