Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is close to sealing a deal for Argentine wonderkid Maximiliano Romero worth around £4.5 million, after meeting his agent twice in London over the last few weeks.
Romero is South American football's most coveted teenager and has even been handed the 'new Lionel Messi' tag, despite still waiting to make his senior debut for Velez Sarsfield.
Wenger has decided he can't afford to let the 16-year-old became another one that got away like Messi and is ready to pay an initial £4.5m for 80% of his registration rights, with The Sun reporting that a further £900,000 will be given to Velez when the forward leaves for London on his 18th birthday in 2017.
Meetings push deal forward
Two sources to be trusted when it comes to Romero's future have revealed how keen Wenger is to get this deal done, even though it would mean Romero staying in his native Argentina for two more years at least.
Velez president Raul Gamez has revealed Arsenal's interest is genuine, claiming: “Arsenal have made a big offer for Maxi Romero. I don’t want to talk figures just yet but it’s a big offer.”
Deal at an advanced stage
Arsenal are now reportedly of reaching a formal agreement with Velez for Romero, in the next few weeks unless negotiations stall.
Romero's representative Zarate was clearly impressed by Wenger's plans for his client, sharing: “I met with Arsene Wenger twice in London. They heard about Maxi through their scouts in South America. He is the player who has most impressed him.
“Maxi has huge potential but he is going to complete apprenticeship at a great club like Velez.”
Wenger still planning for the long term
News that Wenger is still chasing the world's best young players is proof enough that the Arsenal boss has lost none of his desire to build for the future, even if Romero would likely find top form long after the Frenchman's tenure at the Emirates was over.
Wenger sometimes annoys Arsenal fans by insisting he nearly signed Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria, perhaps this has served as an added incentive to make sure Romero doesn't join that infamous list.
Romero will certainly be worth keeping a very close eye on as he prepares to try and force his way into the Velez starting XI this season, because the 'new Messi' moniker isn't likely to go away anytime soon.
Arsenal fans, how excited are you by the prospect of Romero signing for the Gunners? Do you think £4.5m up front is too much for a 16-year-old? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!