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Why I chose Arsenal above Barcelona: Spanish wonderkid explains Cesc inspired decision

Julio Pleguezuelo has been talking about his choice to leave Barcelona behind last summer.

A year ago Julio Pleguezuelo became the latest Spaniard to take the now well trodden path from Barcelona's La Masia academy to Arsenal.

With Cesc Fabregas the most successful, a host of names from Fran Merida, Ignasi Miquel, Jon Toral, and Hector Bellerin have done the same in recent years with mixed, limited, or as yet unproven levels of success.

Pleguezuelo, 17, is a defender who has already made five appearances for the club's under-21 side, and is a Spanish under-18 international.

And it's Cesc who he credits as part of the reason he chose to switch countries:

He told Arsenal.com: "I also knew Hector [Bellerin] and Jon [Toral] from their time at Barcelona, and it really helped that they were at Arsenal. They told me beforehand that I would learn a lot from playing English football, plus I could see that they were getting on well here, so I thought ‘why not me?’

"Cesc Fabregas is another example. I remember watching him in the Arsenal first team when I was younger and he was absolutely amazing. He was in the first team when he was my age, so he’s a real inspiration."

The teenager adds that he feels he made the right decision, as he is already getting more chances to progress through the youth team ranks at Arsenal than he feels he would have had at Barcelona.

Making the first team is a little way off for him right now, but another season in the under-21s and playing in the UEFA Youth League will see the defender be in a bright position in a year's time.

By then who knows, he may even get the chance to play alongside Cesc Fabregas in the Arsenal first team.

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