Arsenal Transfer News: Barcelona Beat Gunners and Real Madrid to Alen Halilovic

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2014

JEONJU, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Alen Halilovic of Croatia competes for the ball with Kim Young-Gwon and Han Kook-Young of South Korea during the international friendly match between South Korea and Croatia at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium on September 10, 2013 in Jeonju, South Korea.  (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Croatian wonderkid Alen Halilovic appears to have rejected Arsenal's advances, confirming his intentions to join Barcelona via his Instagram account.

Rik Sharma of The Mail Online reports the Dynamo Zagreb starlet has signed a five-year deal with the Catalan giants which will tie him to the club until his 22nd birthday. 

Halilovic said an impassioned farewell to his club as he commented on his Instagram: "Thanks Dinamo Zagreb for everything!! My first club and biggest love!! Now is time to move on to Barcelona." 

The player has featured eight times for his club this season, scoring twice, per

Described as the new Luka Modric in some quarters, Halilovic will join Barcelona's list of diminutive skilled players at the Camp Nou.

The potential of Halilovic is undoubted and Arsene Wenger will be disappointed to have not added such a highly regarded teenager to his ranks. Barcelona targets often fit the mould of Arsenal's own targets, and it is easy to see why the La Liga side have swooped to acquire the player. 

Comfortable on the ball, light-footed across the turf, Halilovic had also been wanted by Madrid according to Sharma's report. Barca's capture of the teenage talent will feel like a small victory over their fierce rivals.

At Arsenal, where the likes of Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla currently patrol the midfield, Halilovic would have been a perfect understudy and would have developed his attacking game playing with—and studying—Mesut Ozil.

However, it is questionable he is the type of player the North London club truly need right now. Players such as Tomas Rosicky have shown their mettle in the Gunners' squad, and Halilovic might well have been a long-term replacement to the classy Czech.

Indeed, Rosicky's contribution this season has arguably crept under the radar, a debate Squawka recently raised:

But Arsenal are flooded with small, skilful players and should really be looking to add some power to their midfield without losing finesse. They have never really replaced Patrick Vieira after the Frenchman left the club, and Wenger should be scouting players that fit this profile.

If they could add a player of this ilk their title credentials would be furthered greatly and the Gunners would be able to more readily compete against Manchester City and Chelsea, who both have powerful cores.