5 Barcelona B Players who should be promoted to the first team

RSC Anderlecht v FC Barcelona - UEFA Youth League Round of 16
Palencia in action in the UEFA Youth League
Utkarsh Sharma

The fabled La Masia academy has been producing stars since its inception.

Potential world-class players, La Masia graduates, and youth signings helped significantly in the B team's promotion to the Segunda Division of Spanish Football.

"La Masia is a place where lots of people (players) live together but you are on your own." - Andres Iniesta, La Masia graduate

Now playing their 23rd season in the Segunda Division, and the first since an emotional promotion last season, Barcelona B features one too many bright young prospects. Let's have a look at some of these players who could make a significant mark on the first team;

#1: Sergi Palencia

The B team's captain and one of the highest capped player for the reserves, Palencia plays as a right-back, a position which the first team has faced problems in since after Dani Alves' departure.

Surprisingly, Palencia hasn't yet made his debut for the Barcelona first team after over 66 appearances for the B team.

One of the most influential players in the camp, Sergi Palencia has been tipped for promotion in recent years by Barcelona fans, but managers at the Nou Camp have decided to field midfielder Sergi Roberto as a right-back.

With just one proper right-back in the first team and Ernesto Valverde's promises that were made to the youngsters about a bright future, Sergi Palencia would be desperately hoping for a promotion to the main squad.

Palencia's addition to the first team could be a major boost to the Blaugrana and Ernesto Valverde's demanding tactics. Semedo's high work rate could be efficiently complemented by Palencia's vision and an efficient rotational system could be devised by the gaffer.

#2: Marc Cardona

Cardona is a La Masia graduate
Cardona is a La Masia graduate

Ever since his magical debut for the B team in August 2016 where the versatile forward scored all three goals for his team, the Atlético Sanluqueño CF graduate has been tipped for a place in the main squad.

Making 25 appearances for the reserves, and finding the net 15 times, the Spaniard was influential in Barcelona B's promotion to the second division of Spanish Football.

Cardona has two caps for the first team, both as a second-half substitute in the Spanish Cup and the Champions League last season. With his skills and dynamism, Cardona is a strong contender to earn promotion for the Ernesto Valverde's side.

Luis Suarez's worrying form and with the board almost certain to ship Paco Alcacer off in the winter, Cardona could make greater use of Munir's loan spell as Barcelona are without another forward to fill in the shoes of Luis Suarez, whose age is also a worrying factor for the manager.

#3: Carles Alena

Anderlecht v Barcelona - UEFA Youth League
Starlet Alena is regarded as a natural successor to Andres Iniesta

Perhaps the only Barcelona B midfielder certain of a promotion to the first team, Alena has a three-year professional deal signed with the Blaugrana in the summer of 2017 which would keep him in the ranks of FC Barcelona. The current buy-out clause for Alena stands at €75 million.

Alena is highly rated by the club and joined the youth ranks at a tender age of 7. On his debut against Hercules CF in the Spanish Cup, Alena made an early mark and scored a goal to tie the match for the Blaugrana, who later routed Hercules 7-0 at the Camp Nou in the second leg of the tie.

Carles Alena has made 46 appearances for the reserves and 3 for the first team. Ernesto Valverde picked Alena for the pre-season US tour and the Catalan midfielder would be keen on getting another chance as a first team player soon.

With Andres Iniesta's age-related problems, Alena has already proved his mettle as a first team player and would eagerly grasp onto another chance to be a potential replacement to the inspirational Iniesta.

Alena has already made an impact in the first team and awaits an official promotion to the main squad.

#4: Wilfrid Kaptoum

Schalke 04 v FC Barcelona - UEFA Youth League Semi Final
Kaptoum in action against Schalke in the UEFA Youth League Semi Final

A graduate from Samuel Eto'o's foundation, the Cameroonian midfielder has been under the radar of various top clubs of Europe and beyond.

Kaptoum made a premature entry to the history books for FC Barcelona on 10th February 2016 when the central midfielder scored Barcelona's only goal in a 1-1 draw against Valencia after only two minutes on the field as a second-half substitute.

Barcelona went on to win the semifinal owing to a 7-0 thumping in the first leg and were eventual winners of the Spanish Cup. Kaptoum's goal kept Barcelona's unbeaten streak intact and broke the previous record set by Pep Guardiola's men.

Wilfrid Kaptoum has made 42 appearances for the B squad and it is about time that the Central Midfielder is promoted and adds to the deadly squad depth of the Blaugrana.

Kaptoum's high work rate could significantly do wonders for Ernesto Valverde's game plan. As the manager demands a high work-rate from the players, fatigue is a significant factor that could take its toll on the squad. The promotion of youth prospects could, however, save energy for the bigger matches.

#5: Marc Cucurella

Cucurella playing for Barcelona B
Cucurella playing for Barcelona's youth team

The 19-year-old left-back joined Barcelona in 2012 from local rival Espanyol's youth academy. Making his debut for the reserves in 2016, Cucurella was highly influential in the promotion of the reserves to the Second Division.

Already tipped by fans to be a natural successor to Jordi Alba, Cucurella made 11 appearances for the B team in the 2016-2017 season.

Yet to feature for the first team in a competitive match, Cucurella is bound to stay at the Nou Camp until 2021 according to a fresh deal signed between the player and the club in the summer of 2017. The present buy-out clause for the defender stands at €12 million.

Ernesto Valverde's lack of reliance on Lucas Digne and absence of another left-back for the Blaugrana makes Cucurella a certain prospect to attain promotion to the first team.

Edited by Shambhu Ajith


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