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Barcelona’s Strategic Blunders Encapsulated in Real Madrid-Sandro Link

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Symbolically there cannot be a more clear indictment

FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Real Madrid are set to sign former FC Barcelona striker Sandro Ramirez, who played last season at Malaga.

According to the Spanish radio station Onda Cero, Everton are set to lose out on the forward, who will sign with the Spanish champions.

Sandro was brought up through Barcelona B and into the first team by Luis Enrique. Despite some encouraging performances in his first season, he had a less successful sophomore year under Lucho, where he was always behind Munir El-Haddadi in the pecking order. Finally, Sandro was let go for free last year as Barcelona opted to sign Paco Alcacer from Valencia for a hefty fee.

At Malaga he proved a revelation, netting 11 league goals. Notably, he effectively ended Barcelona’s title challenge with a goal in a 2-0 victory.

Now, if Madrid do snatch him up, Barcelona’s failure to adequately manage youth will be exposed. There are many cases over the past years, with blame being cast upon club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, technical director Robert Fernandez, and Luis Enrique himself, but this one perhaps would be the most emblematic.

Real Madrid’s attention to youth has resulted in Los Blancos snatching up talents such as Marco Asensio, and now Sandro, without necessarily having an academy that develops them.

They’ve managed to keep players such as Alvaro Morata and Dani Carvajal with the team through loans and buyback clauses, even if there wasn’t space at the moment in the starting XI.

And when selling off academy players such as Jose Callejon, they’ve managed to obtain fair prices.

The Catalans have not brought up players quickly enough and instead opted to sell them at reduced prices. The costlier replacements such as Alcacer have not brought enough of an improvement to justify the cost of the switch.

Even players who have stayed linked to the club when moving to other teams have been mismanaged, with the likes of Adama Traore, Sergi Samper, and Alen Halilovic not going to teams with optimal situations for their development. Sure, some blame is with the players themselves, but has the team given them proper backing?

Jordi Mboula’s recent departure to Monaco suggests this is a problem that’s not going away. What will it take for Barcelona’s board to take notice?