Barcelona and the dilemma of sticking to youth or going for instant success
Barcelona fans haven't tasted Champions League glory since the treble-winning campaign of 2014-15, but Real Madrid fans can brag about their Champions League hat-trick. Barca fans are also worried about youth development in the ranks of the Catalan club, known for producing world class superstars over the years.
Ever since Tito left the club, La Masia has suffered miserably. Sergi Roberto was the last superstar to come out of the fabled academy, all promising stars since then have been either loaned out or forced to ply their trade in the B squad.
Blaugrana president - Josep Maria Bartomeu has also been a point of criticism. Considered as one of the major reasons behind La Masia's decline, Bartomeu has been seriously criticised by the Camp Nou faithful.
As a result, the club has started focusing more on the academy in their social media campaigns. But still, this hasn't been enough to please the fans.
The turning point came when the youth side won the UEFA Youth League, defeating a strong and balanced Chelsea youth team in the finals, Barcelona were once again back from the dead in youth football.
Bartomeu noticed the opportunity and the talents, and swiftly extended the contract of almost all key players from the title winning squad, with release clauses set in the ranges of 100-200 million euros. This move by the boss was welcomed by the fans.
Garcia Pimienta's appointment as the coach of the reserve side and the promotion of technically skilled players like Ricard Puiq and Mochu under his watch should guarantee success in the years to come, but that still leaves one question - what about immediate success?
Undoubtedly the fans seek immediate success in the biggest club competition of Europe - the UEFA Champions League, but the board has a decision to make. Either they rely on youth talent or break the bank and buy players already fit for football at the top level.
Barcelona has been linked with players like Willian, Hazard and Rabiot - obviously none of them can be termed 'youth talent'.
On the other hand, media reports suggests that Valverde and the training staff at Barcelona's training campus and academy grounds are pretty impressed by the skills displayed by young and emerging stars like Arthur Melo and Riqui Puig.
Going for the big names might guarantee immediate success but it would once again be to the detriment of the youth players. Luis Enrique decided to go for the big names, and lifted the treble in his first season in charge, he then went on to suffer a terrible fall during his final season in charge. Valverde's first season was also hugely dependent on the big name signings at the club.
Going for the route full of young players might not guarantee immediate success, but it is a proven route taken by pioneers of the club, including Johan Cruyff, Tito Vilanova and Pep Guardiola through the years.
What Bartomeu and Valverde decide to do remains to be seen. What do you think is better for FC Barcelona? Have your say in the comments.