Why Arsenal Should Not Care About Losing Antonio Sanabria

Charlie MelmanCorrespondent IIJanuary 9, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal at Boleyn Ground on December 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Ian Walton/Getty Images

Here's something you don't hear very often: A young starlet has spurned Arsenal for another top European club.

And another: That player was sold by Barcelona.

Instead of plucking a potential star from the Blaugrana's youth ranks, as they did with Cesc Fabregas, Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin, Arsenal were spurned by 17-year-old Antonio Sanabria for Roma.

As Bleacher Report's Nick Akerman reported, Sanabria was pursued by both sides extensively and made his first senior international appearance for Paraguay in August.

Even without watching the youngster play, one can tell that he has a considerable amount of talent. He only made his professional debut this season for Barcelona's B team this season and was signed by Roma after just 10 League appearances.

So the boy is quite good. But Arsenal need not care.

It does not really matter that the Gunners put time and money into scouting him and probably into negotiating with Barcelona for his transfer. He is not what Arsenal need right now and the club's attention should be devoted to other areas.

Sanabria's decision (assuming he had a clear decision to make) does not indicate that Arsenal have a poor negotiating team, that Arsene Wenger is still haggling over pennies or that the Gunners are not an attractive option for emerging stars.

Remember, before you get too down, that Arsenal have young players coming through the pipeline who have just as much potential as Sanabria.

Serge Gnabry might quickly make Arsenal fans forget about Theo Walcott's ACL tear if he continues his explosive development. He was much like Sanabria very recently—the pearl of Stuttgart's youth team and hotly pursued by Europe's top clubs.

He chose Arsenal and both parties are thrilled that each side wanted the other.

No one can make the argument that players are turned off to Arsenal because of the team's status as a flailing "big club" that cannot compete for the title.

That was a very compelling argument in years past, but as the Gunners spend more and more time at the top of the table later and later in the season, they must be regarded once more as a fearsome team.

Now, Sanabria is a striker and Arsenal's most pressing need during this transfer window, by far, is another striker who can adequately back up and provide consistent competition for Olivier Giroud.

But Sanabria is 17 years old and only has 570 minutes of senior experience to his name, according to Soccerway.

He is just not what Arsenal need at a time when an experienced squad is in need of one more solid veteran to add the final thrust to their title push.

So Arsenal have probably missed out on a very exciting young prospect. But if resources that would have been devoted to signing Sanabria are diverted to secure the services of a proven, short-term option at striker, Arsene Wenger will have made a title-winning decision.