Arsenal Transfer News: Gunners Smart to Keep an Eye on Munir El Haddadi

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2014

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger looks on ahead of their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United at St James' Park, Newcastle, England, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scott Heppell/Associated Press

Arsene Wenger's trend of poaching young talent with a view to rearing their skills within his Arsenal camp has recently led the manager to Barcelona starlet Munir El Haddadi.

Although there's a more immediate need for first-team attacking reinforcements right now, the North Londoners are right not to lose sight of a tradition that pits them above some of Europe's giants when it comes to nurturing youth.

According to Metro, Wenger's side are eyeing up a deal to sign the upcoming Moroccan asset, but the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich could provide stiff competition for his signature.

An excerpt from the report reads:

The Catalan giants have yet to tie El Haddadi down to a long-term contract, causing other clubs – including Arsenal – to up their interest.

But Arsenal will have to move quickly, with competition for the highly-rated teen hotting up, while Barcelona also look to keep El Haddadi at the Nou Camp.

El Haddadi was born in El Escorial, near Madrid, but qualifies for the Moroccan national team through his family ties.

Sang Tan/Associated Press

The 18-year-old has only been at the Camp Nou since 2011, but his progress since and before then has been enough to keep him on the radar of some of Europe's biggest clubs.

The official Barcelona Twitter account confirmed that El Haddadi is already training with La Blaugrana's senior stars:

Predominantly a winger, El Haddadi can also play out of a more central outlet, not too dissimilar from another aspiring Gunners star, Serge Gnabry.

For all the impact that a £42.5 million signing along the lines of Mesut Ozil can assure, Wenger's success at the Emirates Stadium has largely been based off investments such as this, with another Barcelona product, Cesc Fabregas, being just one of the more relevant cases here.

During this season's UEFA Youth League, the attacker has scored five goals and made two assists in just four starts for Barca's younger side, per

That tally is equal to a quarter of his team's total goals in the group stage. Arsenal may yet get the opportunity to take a firsthand look at the teenager, with Barcelona staged against Copenhagen and Arsenal playing Shakhtar Donetsk in the round of 16, the winners of which will face each other at the quarter-final stage.

An escalating infatuation with the youth of today has meant that younger players can often cost as much as their more senior counterparts, but El Haddadi is one resource that might be worth the hunt.

That being said, it would be against the Arsenal model to shell out an extortionate price, even for one so promising.

The creative ranks under Wenger's command are currently thriving, and there's another wave of potential stars already weaving their way into the first team.

That being said, one can never have too much of a good thing, and El Haddadi would certainly fit that particular mould, especially considering that a move from Barcelona to Arsenal has proven to be one of the simpler transitions in the past.


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