Over the years Arsenal have developed ethos of signing young players from across Europe into the club’s Academy or the reserve squad.
The famous Barcelona Academy La Masia have lost some players to Arsenal over the years. Especially Cesc Fabregas whose performance has been used to measure those that have arrived from the Catalan club. The others that have passed same doors include Fran Merida, Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral.
Now there are indications that Arsenal are preparing to raid La Masia once again by signing 18 year year old Camerounian goalkeeper Andre Onana, he has risen through the ranks at La Masia after moving from Yaounde.
The implication of Arsenal’s move to sign another player from La Masia reveals how highly Arsene Wenger rates those that came through the Barcelona’s tutelage. Although, players moving away from Barcelona Academy to Arsenal in the past has not gone down well with the Catalan club, especially when its a player they rate highly. The chances of some of these players inching to go back like in the case of Cesc Fabregas happened at a time, the club was in a dire strait. In the end, his departure left a gaping hole in the squad.
Some of the players that have swapped La Masia for Arsenal have turned out good, while others have not exactly reached the heights expected of them. Barcelona always have a way for seeking out any of it academy products especially when such a player develops into a good player.
The implication of Arsenal’s move for Andre Onana is that, the club should be ready for the avalanche of Barcelona’s knocks on the Arsenal’s door if he turns out to be a top goalkeeper in a few years.
While some of the players that have swapped Barcelona’s La Masia Academy for Arsenal have developed into world class players, others have struggled to make the grade at the club. Although Cesc Fabregas remains the standard of measurement, and rightly so for obvious reasons, Fran Merida did show flashes of brilliance, but was not patient enough for a place in the squad, and dashed back to Spain in 2010 after his contract expired.
The move to bring Andre Onana to North London is certainly something of the future, and it would remain so until it develops into something different. What is clear though is that with Arsenal’s almost seasonal raid on Barcelona B, it will be certainly be a continuous affair for years to come.