How Barcelona’s 16 wonderkids on FM2020 have developed IRL in 19-20

Quick Reads

It might be a while before Barcelona develop another Xavi or Andres Iniesta, but there are still a number of promising young players coming through at La Masia.

According to Football Manager 2020’s list of 650 Wonderkids, as compiled by FMScout.com, 16 are currently on Barca’s books. That’s defined as “players with high potential ability who are not older than 20 years old on July 1, 2019”.

Here’s how they’re getting on in real life.

Inaki Pena

Yet to make his debut for the senior side, as a goalkeeper, time is on the 21-year-old’s side.

A regular for Barcelona B since 2018, Pena has gained an insight into first-team football as an unused substitute for 16 La Liga fixtures, regularly deputising after the hiatus.

Reports suggest Barcelona view Pena as a potential long-term successor to Marc-Andre ter Stegen, with a loan move on the cards for the Spain youth international to gain experience of senior football.

Jean-Clair Todibo

One of the more high-profile names on this list, Todibo was signed from Toulouse in January 2019 and has appeared four times for the senior side.

But the 20-year-old’s future already appears to be away from Camp Nou. He joined Schalke on loan in January 2020 with the option for a permanent transfer worth a potential €30million.

However, recent reports suggest Schalke can’t afford to take up that option, opening the door for Everton to swoop in, with negotiations already said to be underway.

He was injured shortly after the Bundesliga club’s return to action in May, and ended up with just eight league appearances (four starts, four as a substitute) in his half-season loan.

Jorge Cuenca

The captain of Barcelona B, Cuenca was a €400,000 signing from Alcorcon in 2017, where he had become the youngest player to ever appear for the club at the age of 17.

After making his first-team debut in the Copa del Rey, he was handed a new contract which will see his buyout clause rise to €100million if he makes the permanent step up into the senior squad.

A broken metatarsal – good name for a podcast on 2000s football, that – has somewhat stalled the centre-back’s progress this season, meaning he has been limited to 14 appearances for the B team. The early end to the Segunda B season means that he last played competitively in early March.

Should he establish himself in the first team, there could be some interesting Clasico fixtures to look forward to, with his younger brother David a member of Real Madrid’s youth team.

Ronald Araujo

Araujo made his breakthrough into Barcelona’s senior side earlier this season, but his debut lasted just 14 minutes as he replaced Jean-Clair Todibo in the 73rd minute against Sevilla only to be sent off in the 86th minute for denying Javier Hernandez a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

The 21-year-old has been at Barcelona since 2018, when he left Boston River in his native Uruguay in a deal worth a potential €5.2million.

He has failed to appear for the senior side since that red card, although he has been on the bench in both La Liga and the Champions League. With Todibo likely to leave permanently, Araujo is likely to be the fourth-choice centre-back.

Juan Miranda

Miranda is currently on loan at Schalke alongside Todibo, spending the entire season with the Bundesliga outfit after making four first-team appearances with Barca in 2018-19.

The left-back’s loan move runs all the way through until the end of next season (whenever that may be), but he has made just four league appearances for Schalke to date and is now being linked with a move to Sampdoria.

However, the 20-year-old hasn’t given up on his Camp Nou dream, recently telling Mundo Deportivo: “I’m going to listen to offers, of course, but first I want to listen to Barca, which is the club I belong to.”

Marc Cucurella

No longer a Barcelona player, Getafe have exercised their option to sign the left-back on a permanent deal after he spent the 2019-20 campaign on loan with the club.

It is technically Cucurella’s third permanent transfer in the space of 12 months. After spending 2018-19 on loan at Eibar, they exercised their option for a €2million permanent deal.

That deal included a €4million buyback option for Barcelona, which they activated after he spent just 16 days as a permanent Eibar player.

Barca immediately loaned him out to Getafe, meaning they spent €4million in order to make a €2million profit…having already made a €2million profit on the 21-year-old last summer (although they are now due 40% of any future sale from Getafe).

Confused? Cucurella certainly is, as he told Sport in February: “Maybe [Barcelona] don’t have the patience that they had. As a Cantera (youth) player, which I am, they don’t give you the chances you deserve.

“I don’t like it because I expected they would be more confident in the youth academy. In football the important thing is to win. Winning is more important than having patience.”

He’s been an ever-present for Getafe this season, remaining so after lockdown and playing all 90 minutes as they exited the Europa League with a 2-0 defeat to Inter.

Moussa Wague

Another player currently on loan elsewhere, Wague was signed from Belgian side Eupen in a €5million deal in 2018 and was officially promoted to the first team for the 2019-20 campaign.

The right-back has six senior appearances for Barcelona to his name but was loaned out to Nice in January, which contains an option to buy for €15million.

He made just two starts in Ligue 1 before the run-in was cancelled, and with reported interest from Leicester City and West Ham in January, it remains to be seen where his long-term future lies.

Emerson

A strange signing. In January 2019, Atletico Mineiro announced Barcelona’s signing of Emerson in a €12.7million deal, but half the transfer fee was paid by Real Betis, where the right-back immediately moved to.

The 21-year-old has impressed with three goals and five assists in La Liga this term, earning his first senior Brazil cap in the process, and Barcelona have an option to take the player from Betis in 2021.

A report in Sport suggests Barca are keen to pay the money to sign Emerson outright only to then immediately sell him on at a profit, with a host of Premier League clubs linked.

Ludovit Reis

Finally we’re back to a player still on the books of Barcelona. Reis is in his first season in Spain after joining in a deal worth a potential €8million from Groningen last summer.

Marca dubbed the midfielder “the antithesis of Frenkie de Jong” due to his more destructive abilities in the middle of the park, but the 19-year-old has spent the campaign with Barcelona B.

If the players gets his way, we might see him in the Premier League at some point. Speaking shortly after making his senior Groningen debut at the age of 17, he said: “My objective is to grow physically before leaving to play in England.

“I want to play for Liverpool. I think it’s a great club and I have a twin brother who is a Liverpool fan. We always watch their games together.”

Oriol Busquets

“My dream is to return to Barça and do preseason with the first team,” Busquets told SER Catalunya earlier this month. “Or whatever I have to do and demonstrate that I can go back. My desire is to stay with the first team.”

No relation to Barca stalwart Sergio Busquets, the 21-year-old has spent the 2019-20 campaign on loan at FC Twente having made two senior appearances for Barcelona over the previous two seasons.

The Spain youth international does operate in a similar position as Sergio Busquets, he has also been deployed as a centre-back by Twente, where he made 21 appearances in all competitions before the early end to the Eredivisie season.

Ilaix Moriba

Still just 17, Moriba is regarded as one of La Masia’s most promising talents and the buyout clause in his contract is already set at €100million.

The midfielder has made eight appearances for Barca B in the third tier and recently became the second-youngest player in history to score for their reserves.

One to watch.

Riqui Puig

One of the most highly-rated prospects at Barca, Puig found it difficult to break into the first team under Ernesto Valverde and was tipped for more opportunities with Quique Setien.

The 20-year-old has only made two La Liga appearances from the bench in 2020 before the hiatus, but played more of a regular role for run-in, featuring in nine of their last ten post-lockdown La Liga outings.

The midfielder has already earned rave reviews from Gennaro Gattuso, who said after his Milan side played Barcelona in a summer 2018 friendly: “Riqui is spectacular. Even though they [Barca] have players that look like kids, the way they handle the ball amazes me. It’s the beauty of football. It’s like poetry.”

READ: Everything you need to know about Barcelona starlet Riqui Puig

Alex Collado

Collado has registered five goals and five assists in 24 appearances for Barca B this season.

The 21-year-old has only made one five-minute cameo for the first team in 2019-20 but has been on the bench for their last two league games.

Pedri

Pedri is yet to play for Barcelona at any level and will move to the Camp Nou at the end of the season.

After making just three appearances for Las Palmas, Barca rushed to acquire his services and agreed to pay €5million for the midfielder.

The 17-year-old immediately went back on loan to the second-tier side and has registered four goals and seven assists in 36 Segunda Division appearances this season.

Ansu Fati

Fati has had an incredible breakthrough season at Barcelona and it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 17.

The forward became the second-youngest player to play for Barcelona’s first team and is also their youngest ever goalscorer in La Liga.

He has now established himself as a first-team regular, scoring eight goals in 31 appearances in all competitions.

READ: 11 records that Ansu Fati has broken in his incredible debut season at Barca

Abel Ruiz

Ruiz was a regular for Barcelona B over the first half of the season but failed to make a single appearance for the first team.

He was sent on loan in January to Sporting Braga, who will make the transfer permanent for €8million at the end of the season.

However, Barcelona will hold a buyback clause on the player and can bring him back to the Camp Nou for €40million.


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