The figures are in and FC Barcelona teenage sensation Sergi Samper, who is in Arsenal’s crosshairs, has proved he can mix it with the best in a terrific display against Apoel Nicosia in the Champions League.
The youngster produced a performance straight out of the text books with 102 passes with a 93% accuracy rate. Barça won by a dismal 1-0 margin and will have to travel to Cyprus for the second leg but what everyone took away from his team’s below par performance were the stats of the teenager.
Sergi Samper, aged just 19, proved he could hold his own alongside the likes of Xavi and Sergi Roberto and the teenage holding midfielder didn’t look out of place either as you would expect a youngster in such a charismatic team.
Apart from his passing masterclass, he helped out in defense, too as Barcelona were without stalwarts Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano at the back.
Manager Luis Enrique had nothing but praise for Samper after the match:
“Samper did well. He is a player I know perfectly – and he just debuted by playing 90 minutes in the Champions League!” he said. “Congratulations to him. He showed personality and he is another great discovery for the club. He will help us this season.”
Samper is a product of FC Barcelona’s youth academy program called La Masia and has been at the club since he was six years old. In recent weeks, North London club Arsenal have showed an interest in the teenage sensation and are believed to be ready to pay the release clause of the starlet’s contract to secure his signature for a cut-price fee of around £9.5 million.
Could this be another coup for Arsenal in the making? Samper could well end up being the next Cesc Fàbregas who went to Arsenal in September 2003 at the age of 16.