Arsenal have completed the signing of talented left-back Joel Lopez. The La Masia graduate had been heavily linked with a move to the Gunners. Lopez has signed scholarship terms and will turn professional once he is 17

Arsenal have finalised a deal for highly-rated Barcelona youngster Joel Lopez. A left-back who was previously playing for Barcelona’s Juvenile B side, Lopez turned down the chance to stay at La Masia and has instead elected to move to Arsenal, where he has signed a scholarship contract.

Lopez will sign a professional deal when he turns 17 in March next year and will go into Arsenal’s U18 squad to begin with, although it is anticipated that he could break into the U23s before the conclusion of the campaign.

It has been a busy summer for Arsenal in terms of first-team transfers and the same applies at academy level, with goalkeeper Karl Jakob Hein having signed from Nomme United, while forward Sam Greenwood joined from Sunderland.

A player who is excellent technically, Lopez’s signing was a necessary one for Arsenal, who needed a new left-back at U18 level following Dominic Thompson’s promotion to the U23 squad.

Lopez (far right) will initially go into Arsenal’s U18 team but could break into the U23 squadThis season Lopez will be able to feature in the FA Youth Cup and could even get into the squad for the Checkatrade Trophy, with Arsenal’s U21 side entering the competition for the first time.

Lopez will hope to follow in the footsteps of Hector Bellerin, who joined Arsenal from Barcelona’s academy at the age of 16 in 2011 and is now established as a first-team regular for the Gunners.

Other players to leave Barcelona’s academy for Arsenal include Fran Merida, Jon Toral and Julio Pleguezuelo.