posted on Oct, 10 2004 @ 08:03 AM
A 12-year-old Argentine soccer sensation looks set to leave his home town of Buenos Aires to join the junior ranks of Catalan giant Barcelona.
Barcelona arrived at an agreement with Erik Lamela's parents, news reports said today.
Under the arrangement Lamela's father, Jose, would be provided with a job in Barcelona, the family would receive a payment of 500,000 ($845,952) over
four years, and the club would provide for Erik's schooling, the reports said.
"I have all the doors open," Lamela's father said.
If the deal goes through, Barcelona apparently would have beaten a handful of other clubs, including AC Milan, Arsenal and Buenos Aires powerhouse
River Plate, where Lamela is currently signed.
Barcelona's interest has sparked a heated debate in Argentina where the media reported on Friday that fans and critics were debating whether it was
too early to send the player abroad.
A Barcelona press officer, who asked not to be identified, confirmed the club's interest.
Lamela caught Barcelona's eye this year during junior competitions in Spain and France.
But the source said Lamela's family would need to move to Barcelona to receive a study and sports grant that could possibly lead to a future senior
According to sports daily Marca, Barcelona president Joan Laporta did not feel it was too early to express an interest in a potential star.