Barcelona youngster Tony Sanabria has decided to quit the Catalan giants in favour of a move to Roma, despite huge interest from Premier League leaders Arsenal, according to Ibtimes.co.uk. 

The 17-year-old forward is considered to be one of the best young players on Barcelona’s books, but his lack of first team opportunities at the Nou Camp have seen him request a move away.

Barcelona have been desperate to persuade the young forward to stay, and even offered a contract extension. However Sanabria’s agent has confirmed the youngster has rejected the offer, and is set to leave the Nou Camp in January – although not for north London.

The forward appears likely to sign for Serie A giants Roma, who are ready to pay the forward’s £2.5million release clause, although an official announcement is not expected until the end of the week.

The striker can sign for the Italian side in January, although he will not be able to join until the summer as they have already signed two non-European players this season – the maximum allowed in any one season by the Italian regulations.

The news is set to come as a blow to both Barcelona and Arsenal.

Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino had attempted to persuade the forward to stay, but his desire for first team football means he has opted for a move.

Arsene Wenger will now look elsewhere as he attempts to sign a striker to provide cover for Olivier Giroud for the second half of the season.

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