So what now?
There are 30 Barcelona-bred players who plied their trade in Europe’s top leagues in the 2014-2015 season. Apart from the aforementioned departures, this list includes old thoroughbreds like Thiago Motta, Mikel Arteta and Fernando Navarro (who made the grade elsewhere and were not brought back into the fold) and prime foxes Oriol Romeu, Jordi Gomez and Ruben Martinez (who are currently slugging it out in mid-table teams).
One has to wonder what their current squad situation would be if even 3-4 of these players could have been brought back by the allure of first-team football in place of certain transfer mishaps (Brazilian right-back Douglas immediately springs to mind) that affected the team’s balance in both the short and long terms.
While the return of Denis Suarez may look like a ray of hope to the Barca faithful that their academy will provide another integral cog to their squad, this has come at the cost of letting other B team and academy players go. Alan Halilovic, a Croatian talent from the Dinamo academy, will be returning from a season-long loan at Gijon, and this will only cut down on the La Masia players’ playing time.
As things stand, they are still too heavily dependent on their divine front 3 and its fitness. Their home-bred midfielders, who should’ve been eased into first-team football by now, are still waiting for their chance to prove their mettle (with the exception of Sergi Roberto, who will probably grab hold of the right back spot with Dani Alves’ departure).
The La Masia had an extraordinary batch of talents alongside Lionel Messi, who were properly introduced into the first team setup either at Barca or elsewhere. Its sell-by date is not far now, and this wheel of success will turn against them someday.
But their La Masia talents, who were tipped to keep this recession at bay, do not look like they will get the chance to prove their worth in the club. Many have moved to newer pastures, never to return to their parent club.
At some point, due to this mass disposal of homebred talent, Barcelona will become no different than Real Madrid or some of the Premier League clubs, which rely on 2-3 homebred players in the starting XI, while the rest are bought as finished articles from feeder clubs elsewhere.