Barcelona’s perilous financial muddle is no secret to anybody, so when they’re going out of their way to splash €7million up front on a 17-year-old midfielder, they must be a generational talent.
To say La Blaugrana have lost some of the magic that makes them such a special football institution is an understatement. Reckless spending and more economic levers than I’ve had hot dinners will do that to a club.
But if there’s one thing that money cannot take away from them – at least until they sell La Masia in the next economic lever – it’s their eye for young talents and their ability to develop them, particularly midfield.
Even in one of the club’s darkest hours, they still managed to spawn a new Xavi and Iniesta in the form of Pedri and Gavi. Yeah, they’re that good – even if poor Pedri looks desperate for a sit down with a cigarette and a coffee these days.
One void they’ve struggled to fill, however, is the Sergio Busquets role. Frenkie de Jong was supposed to be the man to carry the Spaniard’s torch, but he’s developed into a better box-to-box creator, leaving Barca scratching their heads.
Until now. Enter Lucas Bergvall.
Because we don’t feel useless enough these days watching ballers break into first-team football at a nauseatingly young age, Bergvall and his outrageous talent just had to go and rub salt in the wounds by emerging in Sweden and immediately looking like the Busquets regen Barcelona have been desperate for.
Born in the same year the PlayStation 3 was released (no, seriously), the 2006-born midfielder has long been regarded as one of the best talents Swedish football has had to offer and had trials with Manchester United aged 14.
Clearly hooked on trying to make it at broken clubs, he’s already got the experience and resilience to thrive in a chaotic environment. Sorry, United fans.
Breaking through at IF Brommapojkarna in the second tier in 2022, it wasn’t long before he was snapped up by Djurgardens and turned into a regular first-team star in the Allesvenskan.
The icing on the cake came in 2024 when he earned full international honours for Sweden, having barely turned 17. That was until Barcelona became hot on him.
Fabrizio Romano reports that a deal to sign Bergvall looks set to be complete for €7million, with a further €3million in add-ons down the line. It’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but when it’s cash-strapped Barcelona spending it on a teenager, suddenly things look pricey.
When you watch Bergvall strut his stuff, though, it’s clear to see that he could end up looking like a bargain – very soon.
🎥 Lucas Bergvall Highlights..⏳🇸🇪pic.twitter.com/BoQy3CkXPo
— 𝐗𝐚𝐯𝐢 𝐄𝐫𝐚 (@harryfcb21) January 28, 2024
A deep-lying playmaker with quick feet, it’s hard not to see shades of Busquets in the way Bergvall takes the ball so deep from his defenders, but then turns his pressers into dust with endless composure and slick shimmies.
He makes it look ridiculously easy and it’s far from it, hence why La Masia has yet to replace Busquets and why your work colleagues despise you for trying to replicate his greatness at five-a-side, before inevitably conceding.
The 17-year-old not only scans and analyses the game around him like a Formula One ECU, but also has the flair and swagger to glide through defensive lines like a hot knife through butter and can even put a finish on the end of it.
It’s very early days for Bergvall and a step up into Europe’s top five is no easy feat, but he’ll remain in Sweden until the end of the season before joining Barcelona in the summer, where his football education will then be taken to the next level.
Keep a close eye on Sweden’s diamond. We don’t think it’ll be long before he’s an honourary Catalan at the base of Barcelona’s midfield.
By Mitch Wilks