If the infamous phrase that ‘the road to the top is full of difficult challenges’ is led to be believed, then things bode well for Arsenal’s latest Spanish acquisition Ignasi Miquel.
The giant centre back started out like many youngsters, with his home town club. However, it just happened that his first employers were Barcelona – a club recognised world wide for their incredible calibre when it comes to youth development.
But after 5 years with the Catalan giants, the decision was made that Ignasi was not showing enough promise, and was subsequently released. It’s a tough moment for any player to be told they have no future, something Arsène Wenger mentioned last week. Yet as a teenager it’s even harder, as Barcelona was all he had known.
His determination to remain in the game showed as he dropped 5 divisions to play for lowly UD Cornella. With a Barcelona education under his belt, it was evident he would be the best player in their youth teams. The confidence this brought Miquel showed, soon he was playing for Cornella’s B outfit, leading to a recommendation by the Spanish National team coaches to keep an eye on the prospect.
Soon he was back in the big time. A call up to the Spain Under 16’s followed, where scouts from across the world gathered to watch a feared young Spanish team. At this level, they are certainly the team to beat, meaning Ignasi’s inclusion was nothing short of exceptional.
His eye catching performances in a combination of positions caught the eye, but the majority of his team mates were from the country’s biggest clubs. Real Madrid, Valencia and Atlético Madrid all had several representatives, along with Barcleona. His previous outfit must have been stunned at what would follow in the weeks after.
The media became entranced with his story, and a transfer battle swiftly began. Manchester United and Valencia both faxed trial offers, showing how his stock had risen in just a few months. Arsenal took the gamble of making a straight cash offer without a trial, Miquel and Cornella were delighted and an agreement was struck.
Several visits to the Emirates allowed the imposing defender a chance to get used to a big team again, indeed he even had dinner with his idol, Cesc Fabregas. At the start of the season, all the hype had gone, and it was time for the hard work to begin.
At 193cm he towers above many adults, never mind Under 16 players. A debut during the Zinedine Zidane Tournament must have been nerve racking, but the gentle giant showed his composure and style on the ball as the Gunners walked away with the trophy.
The League campaign is well underway now, and Miquel is already making advantage of his height, crashing in a goal against West Ham three weeks ago. It’s been a while since an exciting young defender came through the ranks, and although part of his education has been served in his home land, Ignasi possess all the true components of an Arsenal player.
He’s been forced to do it the hard way, but Ignasi Miquel is heading for the very top.
Article By – J.Sanderson