Who is Joel Lopez? Things to know about Arsenal’s Wonderkid

The theme of Arsenal’s transfer window in January seemed to involve moving so many of the club’s so-called “deadwood” defenders – and in all fairness, they did a very good job.

With the payroll lean from a number of top earners at the club, Mikel Arteta can be happy with his job in the market, though he now has to make sure Arsenal’s upward trajectory continues. those last weeks.

Young Joel Lopez is a man whose path to first-team setup may have been opened. The 18-year-old trained for the senior squad this week ahead of his trip to Wolves, so with a first-team debut perhaps on the cards, here’s everything you need to know about the full-back.

Lopez joined Barcelona’s famous La Masia youth academy at the age of nine and stayed there until the age of 16.

He followed in the footsteps of former Barca academy graduates Hector Bellerin and Cesc Fabregas – both of whom left La Masia as teenagers to settle in north London – and would be greatly appreciated by the staff of the Arsenal academy.

Barcelona are said to have desperately wanted Lopez to stay with the club and made him plenty of offers, while Liverpool have also been credited with an interest in the teenager.

However, he ultimately opted for a move to north London in 2018.

Lopez initially signed a scholarship with the Gunners before signing a professional deal at the age of 17 in 2019. Former Arsenal relations manager Raul Sanlleh is believed to have been instrumental in convincing his compatriot to move to the Emirates Stadium compared to each other. potential suitors.

Joel Lopez Salguero
Lopez is known for his energetic style of play | James Chance / Getty Images

Lopez is very much in the mold of Arsenal’s current first-choice full-backs, known for his energy, drive and ability to work tirelessly down the left side.

His traversal has become a hallmark of his game as it has developed, with his technical abilities everything you would expect from a player developed at La Masia.

He’s mostly left-footed, which means if Kieran Tierney gets injured, Arteta might see him as a more viable option than Cedric Soares, who has been asked to replace him in recent times.

Unai emery
Unai Emery named Lopez to one of his Europa League squads | Octavio Passos / Getty Images

While Joel Lopez’s name has only really gained prominence since training with the senior squad, die-hard Arsenal fans have known the youngster for some time now.

Lopez was signed up for Arteta’s Europa League squad at the start of this season and former boss Unai Emery named him to his 24-man squad for the competition last season, although he did not have not yet made his senior debut for the club.

Joel Lopez Salguero
Lopez in action for Arsenal youth squad | James Chance / Getty Images

Considering his enormous talent, it’s no surprise that Lopez has spent much of his career playing with older age groups than his own.

The youngster spent the majority of his early years at Arsenal with the club’s Under-18 team, although this year he was promoted to the Under-23 team, making ten appearances for the team. by Steve Bould when he was still only 18 years old.