If there’s one regret Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta would have had about the January transfer window, it’s his side’s inability to bring in a new left-back.
The Gunners shipped Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles out on loan to Schalke and West Brom respectively. That leaves Kieran Tierney with no natural backup at left full-back, which really is a worry.
Cedric Soares has done incredibly well there in recent games, but an injury or suspension to him or Hector Bellerin will put us in a lot of trouble, especially if Tierney doesn’t make it back any time soon.
Arteta will be vary of our problems at left-back, but thankfully for him, we have a Barcelona product ready to come in if the situation demands in the coming weeks.
Joel Lopez – the Arsenal wonderkid from Barcelona
Arsenal signed the Spaniard from Barcelona’s prestigious La Masia academy back in 2018 when he was just 16. Lopez has developed brilliantly over the last two years, and he could be the next big thing at the Emirates.
A natural left-back, the 18-year-old is already a regular for the under-23’s. Like Tierney, Lopez is attack-minded and he has the quality to have a real impact in the final third. That suits Arteta’s system perfectly.
Lopez’s attacking prowess is his best trait, but he’s not too bad defensively either. He is solid in one-v-one situations, and the youngster is always full of energy. That allows him to drive up and down the pitch throughout the game without any sign of fatigue.
Lopez has caught Arteta’s eye
Arteta has shown he isn’t afraid to play the youngsters if they show they’re good enough. Lopez’s performances for the academy sides have caught the Arsenal boss’ eye, and he has been rewarded with a chance to train with the senior side recently.
If he can continue to impress, a first-team debut will not be too far away, especially if Tierney’s injury woes persist till the end of the campaign.
One of Arsenal’s priorities for the summer window will be a new left-back. Quality players aren’t cheap in today’s world and the Gunners will have to fork out a ton of money to bring someone in.
If Lopez can develop quickly – like Saka and Smith Rowe have recently – he can save Arsenal millions in the transfer window, and that would be ideal for everyone involved at the club.