Arsene Wenger will make fresh attempts to lure Barcelona teenage prodigy, Munir El-Haddadi, in the coming weeks, according to reports in Spain.
The 19-year old has long been admired by Wenger and could be the latest member of a stream of talents that have crossed from Catalonia to London and with barely three weeks before the January transfer window opens, it is possible that Wenger would swoop for the highly rated youngster.
Though still playing with the lower Barca cadre, Barcelona B, in the Segunda division, Munir has made it into Luis Enrique’s first team this season, and has racked up 13 appearances in La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League. What’s more, he’s even gone on to gain the full attention of Vicente Del Bosque, winning his first cap with La Roja in September in the Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia.
Despite a blossoming start to the season, Munir has not had as much opportunities in recent games which is due to the return of Luis Suarez from suspension. More established stars like Neymar, Messi and Suarez are undoubtedly first choice in the attacking line-up for Enrique, while Pedro, Iniesta, Rakitic are also mainstays of the club.
It appears likely that the Catalans could be willing to let him go either on loan or be sold on a permanent basis, possibly with a clause that could give them first option to re-purchase, and they’ll definitely want him to go to a club whose tradition of play and giving youth a chance is in keeping with theirs. Wenger has had a long running good relationship with those who do the business in Barcelona and won’t be so much of a hassle to capture the youngster were he to be bluntly declared available.
Quick feet, clever passing and quality technique are all quintessential of La Masia’s products and like Messi and Iniesta before him, Munir is blessed with those excellences. At times, he has even played as well as the legendary two. He may just be 19, but Spanish boss Vicente Del Bosque has seen enough of him to hand him a first senior cap, after he was similarly quickly promoted from the U19s to the U21s in August after just 3 games and 3 goals.
Munir’s abilities give credence to the reason why Arsene may have identified him as part of the building blocks for his ongoing Arsenal project. As a speedy attacker, he is able to break off stiff challenges with relative ease, his little frame aiding his ability to wriggle away from tight situations. These will come handy with the emerging tough-tackling nature of the Premier League. Defenders are beginning to adjust to the blistering pace of attacks and so the need for the attackers to learn how to fly without perching has increased.
Our game relies on quick passes which are able to turn defenses off within an instant and Munir has been schooled at Barcelona in that lofty and peculiar art. With similarly inclined players such as Wilshere and Ozil, complemented by the pace of the Theos and Chambos, an exciting prospect stands in waiting. Munir will also benefit from the fact that a good number of the Arsenal academy players who will be expected to be his teammates in future are also being formed in the same ideology.
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