Arsenal secured the signing of Joel Lopez from Barcelona several months ago, but the transfer was only officially announced this week.
Having received international clearance, Lopez is now eligible to play for the Gunners and he could make his debut for the U18s against Chelsea next weekend.
The signing of Lopez was a necessary move for Arsenal to make given that they don’t have any other natural options at left-back in the U18 squad, with Dominic Thompson, who featured prominently last season, having stepped up to the U23s.
Zak Swanson, who usually plays as a winger or at right-back, has filled in adequately at left-back in the first three games of the campaign, but it is anticipated that Lopez will now establish himself as the first-choice option in that position for Kwame Ampadu’s side.
Getting into the U23 squad this season could prove rather difficult for Lopez, with Cohen Bramall, Tolaji Bola and Thompson all ahead of him, but for now the youngster should mainly be focused on getting as much game time as possible for the U18s.
As you would expect from a La Masia graduate, Lopez possesses impressive technique, while in addition he is a fine crosser of the ball.
Signing youngsters from Barcelona has become common practice for Arsenal in recent years, with Fran Merida, Hector Bellerin, Jon Toral, Julio Pleguezuelo and, of course, Cesc Fabregas, having all made the switch to the Gunners.
Lopez, who has signed a scholarship deal that will turn into a professional contract on his 17th birthday in March next year, knows that there is much hard work ahead of him if he is to make the breakthrough at Arsenal, but he will be given every opportunity to impress.
Yesterday Lopez was in attendance as Arsenal beat West Ham United at Emirates Stadium and he will hope that in a few years time he will be playing on that pitch on a regular basis.