Why it is an uphill battle for Barcelona starlet Iliax Moriba now

Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner reacts after missing three chances to score. (Photo by Sean Dempsey - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Arsenal's Nicklas Bendtner reacts after missing three chances to score. (Photo by Sean Dempsey - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) /

Barcelona have just given La Masia starlet Iliax Moriba a huge €2 million deal

One of the primary reasons why Carles Aleñá is the sole flag-bearer of La Masia today is the exodus of the biggest talents that the academy produces. Barcelona have suffered a lot of criticism for this, but the remedial measures may prove to be counter-productive.

Cesc Fàbregas left La Masia to join the Arsenal youth academy, and Héctor Bellerín followed suit. Barça paid €34 million to bring back Fàbregas, while €40 million would have been the fee paid for Bellerín. Álex Grimaldo is one of the recent high-profile departures.

As a result, Barça have adopted a policy of offering huge deals to youngsters. This was implemented with the UEFA Youth League winning team, with Riqui Puig and Monchu getting the biggest deals. But now, the club has gone a step further.

La Masia starlet Iliax Moriba, who is all of 16, has been awarded a 3-year deal, with his total salary at €2 million. This was negotiated by Iliax’s agent, the well-known Jonathan Barnett, and it is the biggest contract that Barça have ever awarded to a youth player.

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The 16-year old Guinea-born Spaniard will also have a release clause of €100 million, and this new contract also requires Barça to make payments amounting to €2.5 million to his representatives. This could be detrimental in his development.

This new deal puts Iliax’s name on the map of world football. It is likely that his performances meant that he deserved this new contract. But it could put huge pressure on him to become one of the best midfielders in the world, with existing comparisons with Yaya Touré and Paul Pogba.

There have been many youngsters who have been afflicted by this phenomenon of excessive pressure from the media, the fans and the club. One of the best examples is Nicklas Bendtner, who was touted to become one of the best centre-forwards in the world.

The former Arsenal man juggled clubs for a long time, and now plies his trade for Nottingham Forest in the Championship. The same was the case for other Arsenal youngsters like Fran Merida and David Bentley. Iliax could be the victim of the same problem.

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It has affected Barça youngsters earlier too, with players like Keirrison and Jeffrén Suárez crumbling under pressure. Now, Iliax will be under even more pressure due to his new deal. He faces an uphill battle from now, and his character will be tested very early in his career.