?Barcelona are a club synonymous with the talent they produce from within. No academy in the world is more fabled than La Masia which has produced some of the best footballers ever seen in the sport from Lionel Messi to Xavi Hernandez to Gerard Pique.
However, with big-money signings the order of the summer (and with the possibility of even more if Neymar’s move materialises) there seems to be dwindling places in the first team for young players to break into in recent years.
Here are six young players who are desperate to make that final push into the first team despite the competition for places.
Now this may be a bit cheeky to include Alena here as he made 33 appearances for Barcelona last season. However, when looking at the time played it only totals to around six matches full matches.
Alena is now a regular in the first-team squad and trains with the stars so there is obviously faith from the club there. As he nears his 22nd birthday though, it is only another year or so remaining before he won’t be considered a prospect anymore.
The midfielder is supremely talented and waltzes around the field like ex-Barça man Thiago does at Bayern Munich.
Here’s hoping the classy young man can still get his chance despite Frenkie de Jong nicking his number 21 shirt.
One of the stars of the 2018 World Cup (regardless of age) was Moussa Wagué. As a skilful and athletic threat down the right wing for Senegal, Barcelona decided to snap him up a month after the tournament.
After signing, Wague went straight into Barça B and later made his full debut for the first team in April. By the end of the season he’d made three appearances, so Valverde obviously has faith in his abilities.
Given the issues Barcelona have had at right back since Dani Alves departure in 2016, Wague breaking into the starting 11 seems completely plausible option. After the club thought Sergi Roberto was their Lord Savior for a season, they have been less than convinced by the Spaniard and Nelson Semedo. If Wague takes his chance, he could be at the club for years.
Mike van Beijnen
With all that’s just been said about Moussa Wague, much the same can be said for van Beijnin. Only signed this summer, the right back already has a €100m release clause inserted in his contract.
The Dutchman has arrived as a free agent from NAC Breda and seems to have got attention from his move to Barcelona after his high release clause and (more likely) because he is the stepson of Frankie de Jong’s agent.
Regardless, at 20 he is of the age in which players start looking ahead to the first team and van Beijnen will be no different.
Puig is the diamond of the current Barcelona B team.
The 19-year-old midfielder made his debut at the tail end of last season and more recently played in the pre-season loss to Chelsea, impressing with typically exquisite awareness and intricate passing play.
Given the reputation Puig has it will be interesting to see if he is accelerated ahead of Alena in moving towards the starting lineup.
No relation to Sergio Busquets, yet Oriol does play in the same position as his namesake and is equally tall and languid.
Like all deeper-lying midfielders Barcelona produce, Busquets is tactically and technically gifted with a good eye for moving the ball between the lines and for getting it back with sound positioning.
As there is less competition for places in the holding role for Barça, Busquets may see himself getting more minutes as the most natural replacement for Sergio.
Fans have speculated for some time where left back Jordi Alba’s eventual successor will come from.
Many believed that Marc Cucurella was the future heir for the number three position. However, Cucurella has left to join Getafe this summer, leaving options limited at left back. That is except for Miranda.
Miranda is tall and more defensively solid than Cucurella. As you might expect, he is also a very attacking player, like all Barcelona full backs and has the skill to play the position well. An injury to Alba could well see Miranda picking up minutes in La Liga next year.