Arsenal fans’ opinions of their former skipper may have been irreversibly distorted, but those same Gooners would surely leap at the chance to sign a precocious midfield talent in Cesc Fabregas’ mould.
His inexcusable transition from Gunner to Blue, albeit in circuitous fashion, makes it’s all too easy to forget that the boy plucked from (and eventually sold back to) Barcelona was once an Emirates idol.
Fabregas was just 16 when Arsene Wenger and his scouts exploited the oversubscribed Camp Nou talent pool and the playmaker’s subsequent exploits in an Arsenal shirt bare testament to one of the manager’s sagest masterstrokes.
The Spaniard went on to score 57 times in 303 games. However, he was, and still is most renowned for his vision and technical ability on the ball, both hallmarks of his Barca and international contemporaries.
According to various media sources, it’s these Fabregas-esque midfield traits that have led Wenger to target another teenage talent over a decade later.
Manuel Locatelli is yet to make a first-team appearance for AC Milan, but the 18-year-old is thought to be on the cusp of a San Siro bow, having lit up the Rossoneri‘s youth ranks this season.
An exceptionally cool customer in possession, the midfield maestro’s displays have even compelled club president Silvio Berlescuno to draw comparisons with the legend of the Italian engine room that is Andrea Pirlo.
As the below compilation of clips reveals though, Locatelli is no stranger to advanced positions and his ability to carve a defence open with a single pass, bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Fabregas.
Being the shining light in the Serie A club’s academy is sure to make the task of prising him away a darn sight more difficult than it was when signing Cesc though.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.