Both Liverpool and Arsenal are preparing to swoop for Barcelona starlet Joel Lopez, according to Spanish publication Sport. 

The report claims that the Premier League duo are taking a keen interest in the 14-year-old full-back and will look to prise him away from La Masia in the summer. 

Although there is currently no clear favourite in the race to sign the youngster, Arsenal have a history of poaching playing from Barcelona’s La Masia academy having previously snapped up Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin. 

Lopez joined the Benjamin B (U8s) side from Vila Olimpica and has progressed through the ranks to a Cadeta A full-back (U16s). He is yet to sign a renewal with the Catalan club, however, and it appears unlikely that he will remain on the South Coast. 

Nevertheless, Barcelona will try and convince the youngster to remain but are not desperate, with the left-back position considered to be well covered by Marc Cucurella and Juan Miranda in the age groups above. 

Barcelona lost another of their prodigies in January when Sergio Gomez surprisingly opted to join Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. Gomez, who was highly regarded of at La Masia, was thought to be unhappy with the lack of defined pathway into the senior team and left after contract renewal negotiations broke down. 

Since Gomez left, Barcelona have been working on preventing a similar scenario from reoccurring with various representatives phoning parents of the players whose contracts are close to expiring to inform them of their offers.  

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