We all love a player who makes their way up through the ranks and establishes themselves as a regular starter.
While Barcelona has already experienced its golden generation with several stars from that era having departed the club, the need to reinvigorate the squad with youth has arrived. The club has invested heavily in young players but most of those names have been failures. While Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes are the first names that come to mind when thinking of failed transfers, Paco Alcacer and Marlon Santos aren’t far behind.
The massive investments made in Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele are yet to justify themselves and the theme is starting to affect Barcelona as a whole. Is Barcelona prepared for the future? Is there a defined plan for how the club should progress?
The last time a La Masia graduate established himself as a star was when Luis Enrique threw Sergi Roberto into the line-up at right-back. The move paid off in spectacular fashion and the Catalan remains an important member of the starting XI despite not playing in his natural position.
Barcelona’s B-team is suffering and it is a cause for concern. While the results shouldn’t matter, they’re a good estimate of whether the team has enough quality to see its stars getting promoted. Many seem to assume that because Sergio Busquets made it from the 4th division, anybody can do the same. There is very little exceptional talent in the squad at the moment and even those players are still raw.
Carles Alena has been the star of this campaign but even as the top-scorer of the side, he hasn't been able to take them beyond the relegation zone. Sitting at 20th, Barcelona B might not be in the second division next season. Another name that’s often mentioned is Jose Arnaiz. For all his impressive moments with the first team, Arnaiz is struggling for goals in the second division and his output with the first team might not be as impressive as some are expecting.
While Alena has clearly proved his worth and deserves his promotion, the likes of Marc Cucurella, Sergi Palencia and Arnaiz are probably not ready to make the step up.
Barcelona can try and experiment with these players, but with the highest valued squad in LaLiga2, their performance clearly suggests that there is a case of hype inflating the market value of certain players.
As a club that prides itself on having an excellent academy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many tend to hold players from the youth teams in high regards. However, we must always remember that hype cannot be trusted--performance can.