x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Arsenal win battle over Toral from Barcelona

The Gunners sign up the 16-year-old Barcelona prospect from the famous academy a la Fabregas.

BARCELONA // Arsenal has poached another player from Barcelona's lauded youth academy.

Barcelona confirmed that 16-year-old Jon Toral is set to follow in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas and join the Gunners from next season.

Spanish reports said the north London club paid €350,000 (Dh1.8 million) for Toral, who was free to sign with any professional team.

Toral came through the Spanish champion's La Masia ranks like new teammate Fabregas and fellow prospect Fran Merida, who were both signed by Arsenal as teenagers. World Cup champion Fabregas is captain at Arsenal and Merida is now with Atletico Madrid.

The lanky Toral, who is listed as a midfielder in Barcelona's youth team, reportedly has roots in Britain, where his mother is from.


Guardiola renews deal at Barca

Pep Guardiola will coach Barcelona until the end of next season after signing his one-year contract extension.

Guardiola has won eight trophies in two-plus seasons with the Catalan club, which leads biggest rival Real Madrid by five points in the chase for a third straight Spanish league title. Guardiola also guided Barcelona to Champions League, Club World Cup, European Supercup, Copa del Rey triumphs and two Spanish Supercups.

Financial terms of the deal were not released. Should Guardiola see out the deal he will join Johan Cruyff, Jack Greenwell and Frank Rijkaard as the only coaches with four consecutive seasons in charge at Barcelona.