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Football: Gunners grab new superkid.

ARSENE WENGER is on the brink of snatching a third Spanish wonderkid from under the noses of Barcelona.

Arsenal boss Wenger's scouting network has unearthed another potential gem in 15-year-old centre-half Ignasi Miquel Pons.

Spanish Under-16 international Pons is set to join the Gunners on his 16th birthday on October 28 and will follow in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas and Fran Merida who were also on Barca's books before moving to London.

Pons was on the Nou Camp books for four years but left when there was a change in coaching staff and joined Catalan club UD Cornella. That allowed Arsenal to move in.

Wenger captured one of the best midfield prospects in the world when they signed Fabregas as a 16-year-old and they also have high hopes for former Merida.

But allowing Pons to escape their grasp again is certain to annoy Barcelona even though there is no suggestion of foul play as Celtic and Manchester United have also tried to sign him.

But Arsenal's Spanish scouting network has struck again as Pons has the same agent as Fabregas.

UD Cornella sporting director Andres Manzano said: "The deal has been agreed with Arsenal and they have always behaved well."

The deal will be structured so Arsenal's fee will be increased to around pounds 1million if Pons reaches the first team.

Pons has been to London three times to see the club's training ground and stadium.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 21, 2008
Words:237
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