Lee Seung-Woo, once held up as one of the brightest prospects at Barcelona’s La Masia academy, has joined Italian side Hellas Verona for €1.5 million.
Lee, 19, joins Verona on a four-year deal, although Barca maintain an option to re-sign him for the next two years if they wish.
The South Korea youth international joined Barcelona in 2011 and drew comparisons to a young Lionel Messi in his early years with the club.
However, he was one of the youngsters affected by the transfer ban Barca received from FIFA in 2014 for infringing rules regarding the signings of international youth players.
As a consequence, he was unable to play for or even train with the club’s youth teams until he turned 18 in January 2016.
— Hellas Verona FC (@HellasVeronaFC) August 31, 2017
Last season he made 30 appearances for Gabri Garcia’s U19 side, scoring 10 goals.
This season he was due to be promoted to Barca B, but the number of players Gerard Lopez has at his disposal meant it was unlikely Lee would have been given much playing time.
In addition, he would have had to take up one of the three non-EU spots in the team, and Gerard preferred other players to Lee.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.