Arsenal Transfer News: Barcelona Starlet Abel Ruiz Wanted Amid Chelsea Rumours

Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2016

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2011 file photo, Barcelona youth players from 'La Masia' football academy warm up at the Barcelona FC's Joan Gamper training camp in San Joan Despi, Spain. The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Tuesday Dec. 30, 2014 dismissed Barcelona's appeal and upheld the transfer ban FIFA imposed on the club for infringing regulations on registering minors as youth players. CAS said in a statement that “Barcelona had breached the rules regarding the protection of minors and the registration of minors attending football academies.” The ruling means Barcelona will be barred from signing any players in 2015. Barcelona is renowned for training and educating young players such as Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta at it's La Masia academy, in the hope they develop the talent to graduate to the senior team. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Arsenal will reportedly rival Chelsea for the signature of Barcelona youngster Abel Ruiz.

According to Chris Hatherall of the Mirror, the Premier League rivals are hoping to snap up the 16-year-old as he is yet to put pen to paper on a professional deal at the Camp Nou. 

Per the report, Barca are eager to secure the striker, but he has been scouted regularly by the Gunners' Francis Cagigao and both English clubs have made contact with Ruiz's family.

The former Valencia youth player took to Instagram to celebrate Barcelona Juvenil B's recent 3-1 win over Mollet:

According to Metro's Jamie Sanderson, the forward is "one of the hottest prospects" coming up through the ranks in Catalonia.

As such, the prospect of him being poached by a side in the Premier League is a real cause for concern for club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who is "is taking a close interest in the deal," according to Hatherall.

Indeed, per Sanderson, the Gunners would "anger" the Catalan giants should they persuade Ruiz to join them having previously recruited the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin from their academy.

Given a choice between Arsenal and Chelsea, the former would seem a more likely destination for Ruiz as they have shown a greater willingness to blood their young talent, while the latter notoriously loan out vast swathes of youth players each season.

Further, the cultured style of play Arsenal encourage in their players would likely provide a much smoother transition to life not only with a new club but in a new country as well—something particularly important for one so young.