Indonesian teen signed by Spanish club Espanyol | inside World Soccer

Arthur Irawan is set to become the first Indonesian to compete in the Spanish top flight after signing with La Liga club Espanyol.

Indonesian teen Arthur Irawan poses at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat after signing for Espanyol
Indonesian teen Arthur Irawan poses at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat after signing for Espanyol

Photo: rcdespanyol.com

The 18-year-old, a relative unknown in his country due to his age, has raised eyebrows across the region after the Spanish outfit announced the signing on Thursday.

"Arthur Irawan is a promising young player from Indonesia who we successfully discovered," read a statement in Espanyol's official website.

"He could attract the interest of Manchester United, but his family wanted him to continue his studies.

"Now, the challenge for our coaching team is to be able to make him adapt to the style of football's elite at the European level."

Irawan had a brief spell last year with English amateur club Lytham Town, which plays in the West Lancashire Football League.

The Jakarta-born also had a trial with Preston North End, though that deal fell through due to work permit problems, and was also linked earlier this year with League One side Tranmere Rovers.

He will spend his first year at the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat in the junior team before moving up the ranks.

The first Indonesian to play for a European club was striker Kurniawan Dwi Julianto, who spent one season with Swiss side FC Luzern.

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