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FC Barcelona Learn From Their Mistakes With Gerard Deulofeu Loan

Having been faced with the opportunity to loan Gerard Deulofeu to Sevilla last summer, FC Barcelona have learnt from their mistakes shunning the Premier League to give the talented La Masia graduate experience in La Liga

David Ramos

In some ways, this was expected. In others, it was a shock. On Thursday, FC Barcelona officially announced the departure of Gerard Deulofeu as the talented Catalan winger left the Camp Nou for another season out on loan.

Following on from a year at English Premier League side Everton, Deulofeu started preseason with Luis Enrique’s new-look FC Barcelona, but as friendlies against Recreativo de Huelva, Napoli and HJK Helsinki passed without a start, it was increasingly apparent that Lucho wasn’t yet ready to entrust Gerard with a spot in the first team. Reports emerged linking him with a temporary switch to Unai Emery’s UEFA Super Cup runners-up Sevilla, and sure enough, mere hours later the move was confirmed by the club.

Perhaps the timings were a little suspect from a management perspective, leading to some suspect reporting of unsubstantiated claims of a bust-up between Lucho and Deulofeu, but leaving emotions aside for one moment, it’s increasingly obvious that this move was not only the logical one to make, but the right one too.

With the signing of Luis Suarez, Barça’s attacking trio is set in stone with three superstar players locking out the frontline. Then, in reserve Luis Enrique can count on the versatile FIFA World Cup winning Pedro Rodriguez, a man who, lest we forget, scored in FC Barcelona’s last UEFA Champions League final appearance. Rafinha is another player capable of providing cover across the attack, and with rumours continuing to link FC Barcelona with a move for Colombian World Cup star, Juan Cuadrado, it’s evident that first-team opportunities were going to be scarce for Gerard Deulofeu.

Talented as he may be, Deulofeu is not yet the finished article – thanks in large part to his largely wasted spell at Everton last season. Despite his acknowledgement of Deulofeu’s undeniable talents, and despite a number of impressive cameo displays from the player himself, Everton’s manager, Roberto Martinez, was reluctant to hand Gerard a starting berth, or indeed much in the way of experience in the top flight.

With his minutes limited, the onus was on Deulofeu to impress with the little game-time he was given, promoting or at least encouraging somewhat selfish behaviour on his part. After all, Deulofeu wasn’t going to break into Everton’s first-team on work ethic alone; it was up to him to provide a spark, to be the difference-maker – and let’s face the facts; the composition of Everton’s squad hardly lent itself to promoting "tiki-taka"-esque play from our latest prized La Masia graduate.

And so, a year later, Deulofeu is back at square one. Without the trust of the coach, he has been shipped out once again to gain top flight experience, to develop as a player and to catch the eye of Barça’s management.

This time, it promises to be different. There’s a consensus that this is the right move for the player and club alike; Unai Emery is a fantastic coach and will use Deulofeu wisely. He will also promote the qualities that Barça are looking for in the young winger and that can only be a positive.

Despite rumoured interest, Sevilla just missed out on securing Deulofeu on a temporary deal last summer and having learnt their lesson the hard way, it’s encouraging to see FC Barcelona making the right move – even if it is a year later than it could have been...

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