Munir El Haddadi has been an enigma among Barcelona fans since he made his debut. After scoring a goal in an impressive performance in his debut match in La Liga in 2014, there were many fans anxiously awaiting to see what he could bring to the club. That goal would be the only one he scored that season, a season that saw Barcelona win the treble. Despite the club’s success since his debut, Munir has not lived up to the standards set upon him that day, and he may never get the chance to.
With Barcelona aggressively pursuing a forward this summer to serve as a backup to the trio known as MSN, Munir’s time with the club may be cut short for the foreseeable future.
Serving as the primary forward option off the bench in just his second season on the first team, Munir made strides from his first campaign. He scored eight goals in 26 appearances overall, five of them in five games in the Copa del Rey where he was joint top scorer. Another interesting note, Munir was the fifth highest goal-scorer for Barcelona last season.
Barcelona recently renewed Munir’s contract until the 2019 season. Perhaps it is a sign of good faith in him. There are few signs that point to Munir being on the first team squad this season, especially if Barca signs a fourth forward.
It has become very challenging for youngsters out of La Masia to solidify spots on the Barcelona roster. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Barcelona bring in immensely talented players who are proven in positions of need to the club win trophies.
The last Barcelona player to be brought up from La Masia and almost immediately keep a starting spot is Sergio Busquets. Since then plenty of graduates from Barcelona’s youth academy have left for other clubs in search of playing time and growth. It isn’t any fault of their own, however.
Since the rise of La Masia’s golden generation, the graduates of what is considered the best youth academy in the world have not reached those heights. Again, it’s no fault of theirs. Munir could be the next in a long line of Masia graduates to leave for other pastures.
He could pull a Gerard Piqué, spend some time at another club and return as a success. Similar to what Denis Suárez is attempting to do now.
The path of Sergi Roberto is another path he could take. Patiently wait for a chance to break through to the first team without leaving.
Or he could become like Adama Traoré, who is now playing in the second tier of English football and seems unlikely to ever wear Blaugrana again. Similar to Christian Tello and Martín Montoya, who’s futures with the club appear finished.
A chance may still open up for Munir if two of Barcelona’s primary targets, Luciano Vietto and Kevin Gamiero, go to each other’s respective teams. Though Barcelona seem determined to get another forward even if they fail to sign either of them.
Fun fact: There are six players on the current Barca team who came up through La Masia and never left: Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Sergi Samper and Munir El Haddadi.