5 Barcelona players who have improved under Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman has made interesting decisions at Barcelona
Ronald Koeman has made interesting decisions at Barcelona

Barcelona endured one of the worst seasons in recent history last year and failed to bring a single piece of silverware back to the Camp Nou. The Catalan giants are visibly in a transitional phase at the moment and have made some progress with their squad over the past few months.

With Dutch manager Ronald Koeman at the helm, Barcelona's younger generation has managed to pull off a few impressive results this season. The Blaugrana seem intent on honing their next crop of talented players this season and their efforts have yielded positive results so far.

Barcelona navigate through transition period under Ronald Koeman

Barcelona have one of the best youth academies in the world and have tapped into their legendary production line over the past year to bolster their first team. While some La Masia graduates have moved on to greener pastures in the recent past, some others have managed to prove their mettle at the Camp Nou.

Ronald Koeman has already copped his fair share of criticism from the Barcelona fanbase but has managed to get the best out of some of his most talented players. Barcelona have built a team for the future this year with a specific set of names showing marked improvement under Ronald Koeman.

#5 Martin Braithwaite

Martin Braithwaite has exceeded expectations at Barcelona
Martin Braithwaite has exceeded expectations at Barcelona

Martin Braithwaite's surprising addition to the Barcelona squad last year was dismissed as a stopgap move to paper over the cracks that had permeated through the Catalan squad over years of mismanagement. In the past few months, however, Braithwaite has managed to pull off an impressive number of positive outings in the Blaugrana colours.

Martin Braithwaite is an enterprising forward and is arguably one of the most hardworking members of the Catalan front line. The former Leganes striker has started only 11 games this season but has scored five goals under the tutelage of Ronald Koeman.

With Barcelona actively looking for a number nine in the transfer market, Braithwaite's adventure at Barcelona may well be on its last legs. The Danish striker has done his part, however, and has carved a place for himself in the Camp Nou's history over the past year.

#4 Ansu Fati

Ansu Fati is a prodigious talent
Ansu Fati is a prodigious talent

Ansu Fati has made waves in Spain and in Europe over the past two years. The La Masia prodigy shocked teams in La Liga with his electric pace and can potentially become Barcelona's primary goalscorer in the next few years.

The talented teenager has scored five goals in eight starts this season and has worked on several aspects of his game under Ronald Koeman. The Dutch manager has given his star prospect plenty of freedom in the final third and Ansu Fati has responded with a string of important goals.

The Barcelona youngster is currently recovering from knee surgery and is likely to return to the squad in February. Ansu Fati has a long career ahead of him and will want to make the most of the faith that Ronald Koeman has placed in Barcelona's young contingent.

Also Read: 5 managers who have underperformed this season (2020/21)

#3 Ronald Araujo

Araujo has been excellent this season
Araujo has been excellent this season

Barcelona's defensive problems have cost them several important matches over the past two years. With Gerard Pique approaching the end of his career and the likes of Lenglet and Umtiti flattering to deceive on the biggest of stages, the introduction of Ronald Araujo to the Barcelona first team has been a breath of fresh air.

Araujo is arguably one of the fastest centre-backs in La Liga and his recoveries have dragged Barcelona out of trouble on several occasions. The Uruguayan defender has seized his opportunity with aplomb and is set to keep his place in Barcelona's starting eleven.

Alongside La Masia graduate Oscar Mingueza, Ronald Araujo has faced stern challenges in La Liga over the past two months and has become one of Ronald Koeman's trusted charges. Barcelona have a congested fixture list for the remainder of the season and will have to rely on the young Uruguayan and his incredible pace and poise.

#2 Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong has been impressive this season
Frenkie de Jong has been impressive this season

Barcelona have always relied on their former players in managerial roles in the recent past and Ronald Koeman was an automatic choice after the Catalans parted ways with Quique Setien. The Catalan giants had also signed Frenkie de Jong from Ajax and Ronald Koeman's appointment was expected to do wonders for the prodigious Dutch midfielder.

Following a transitional period in the 4-2-3-1 system under Koeman, De Jong has excelled in an attacking role in recent weeks and seems to be back to his best. The midfielder was virtually unplayable in his final season at Ajax but was unable to replicate his extraordinary form in his first season at Barcelona.

It comes as no surprise that Frenkie de Jong's recent resurgence has coincided with a string of positive results for Barcelona in all competitions. The Catalan giants rely heavily on the Dutch midfielder to enforce a modicum of cohesion in the middle of the pitch and will hope that the former Ajax star builds on his progress under Ronald Koeman this season.

#1 Pedri

Pedri has enjoyed an exceptional season
Pedri has enjoyed an exceptional season

Pedri has been the find of the season for Ronald Koeman and Barcelona and is arguably one of the most talented youngsters in La Liga at the moment. The former Las Palmas midfielder has given seasoned veterans in Spain and in Europe a legitimate run for their money this season and has grown into one of Barcelona's most reliable midfielders.

The 18-year-old starlet has kept the misfiring Philippe Coutinho on the bench this season with his performances and has already established an excellent relationship with Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi. The young Spaniard also has an excellent work-rate and his rapid progression this season has eased the burden on Ronald Koeman.

Pedri is still in his first season at Barcelona and already seems to be the perfect fit for the Catalans' style of play. While comparisons with Barcelona's all-time greats are decidedly premature, the youngster could potentially go on to carve a legacy for himself with the Blaugrana.

Also Read: 5 Barcelona players who are out of favour under Ronald Koeman

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Edited by Aditya Hosangadi
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