Sanabria is considered the jewel of the Barcelona academy. [Reuters]
Barcelona youngster Tony Sanabria has decided to leave the Spanish giants and commit his future to Roma, even though Arsenal have made a major offer for him.
The 17-year-old striker is considered the jewel of the Barcelona academy but his lack of opportunities in the first team and the interest from many big European clubs have convinced him to quit his current club.
Barcelona offered him an extension to his contract - which expires in 2015- but Sanabria's agent, Raúl Verdú, has confirmed to IBTimes UK that they have already rejected the offer, and it looks like there is no chance of him remaining at the Nou Camp.
IBTimes UK understands that his next destination will be Rome, who are willing to pay his £2.5 release clause, although Sanabria is not going to make an official confirmation until the end of this week.
The striker can sign for the Italian side in the next transfer window but can not join them until next summer, as they have already signed two non-European players this season - the maximum allowed in any one season by Italian regulations.
Desperate to sign him
Barcelona are desperate to keep hold of Sanabria and even manager Gerardo Martino tried to convince him to stay. However the 17-year-old feels that he is ready to play first-team football and believes he is not going to have any chance to do it in the Catalonian side.
Sanabria is currently playing regularly in Barcelona's second team and he has scored two goals in the last three Second Division games.
Although many reports suggested that several English clubs, including Chelsea, Liverpool and Mancheste City, have been monitoring his situation, IBTimes UK understands that only Arsenal have made a genuine approach to sign him.
The hitman has considered the Gunners' offer but his representatives have decided the idea, due to a problem with his work permit. Under Premier League rules a player outside the European Union is required to have played 75% of competitive matches for their national team over the past two years. Sanabria, who is 17 years old, has only been capped twice by Paraguay.
Arsene Wenger was really interested in the signing as Arsenal currently have only two strikers to call upon - Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner.
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