Arsene Wenger’s plundering of Spain’s youth looks set to continue as it has been reported in the Daily Mail that Real Madrid’s so called wonder-kid Jose Rodriguez has already been offered a deal at the Emirates.
The pied-piper of football, Wenger has already led talented teenagers Jon Miquel Toral and Hector Bellerin from Barcelona to London this summer as well as Ignasi Miquel, who won the Under-19 European Championship this year.
Both Toral and Bellerin were signed aged 16 from Barcelona’s academy, with Miquel putting pen to paper on the day of his 16th birthday in 2008. This trio join an ever growing list of 16-year-olds snapped up by Arsenal due to the fact that Spanish clubs can’t offer professional contracts until the player reaches 17.
The list also includes Fran Merida, who left Arsenal on a free transfer to go to Athletico Madrid (but he has subsequently been loaned out to Braga) and of course Cesc Fabregas, who returned to Barca this summer).
Rodriguez spent two days in the capital, where he was shown the facilities at Arsenal, he was then made a financial offer and shown a development plan that mapped his progress through the ranks into the first team. As with Toral and Bellerin, it is believed he will be fast-tracked if he shows sufficient progress, so that he will be in the first team squad within two years.
Supposedly he also spoke to Fabregas who advised him to join the Gunners. But as Real may offer him as five-year deal (albeit next year when he is 17) his Arsenal move is not a cast-iron certainty yet.
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