Barcelona prodigy Sergi Samper recently rejected a lucrative offer from Arsenal to follow in the footsteps of former Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas, reports in Spain claim.
The 19-year-old central midfielder is considered one of the brightest talents to emerge from the famed La Masia academy and has been tipped to eventually replace Xavi Hernandez in the heart of midfield.
The Spanish starlet has represented his country's youth sides at Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 level while last season he proved to be a sensation in the Spanish second division, leading Barcelona B to a surprising third place despite his tender years.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has monitored the youngster's development for years and even tried to secure his services in 2011 – only to instead sign Samper's former mates Jon Toral and current Gunner first-team player Hector Bellerin.
Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo reports that the Arsenal manager has not given up on the Barcelona starlet and before the end of the transfer window made a second lucrative approach for the player.
The Spanish giants were concerned that Samper could follow in the footsteps of Fabregas, who moved from the Catalan giants' academy to Arsenal in 2003 as a 16-year old before becoming a hero in north London.
According to the reports, Wenger offered Samper the chance to become the new Fabregas and even met his €12m (£9.5m) release clause.
However, the player once again opted to turn down the Gunners' approach to commit his future to the Catalans as he still dreams about playing in the first-team for his boyhood club.
Furthermore, Mundo Deportivo claims new manager Luis Enrique convinced Samper to reject a move to north London, promising him a bright future in the first-team after featuring in the club's pre-season campaign.
With Xavi Hernandez expected to leave the team next summer and with Barcelona unable to make further signings due to a transfer ban handed down by Fifa, Samper is likely to have the chance to secure a first-team role.