Meet the future of Barcelona midfield and its not Pedri, Puig or De Jong

Gregorio Gracia 'Gori' of RCD Espanyol B competes for the ball with Gavi Paez of FC Barcelona B (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Gregorio Gracia 'Gori' of RCD Espanyol B competes for the ball with Gavi Paez of FC Barcelona B (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Ever since the end of the Xavi-Iniesta era, Barcelona have been struggling with creativity in the midfield. The amount of skill, awareness, and vision that the midfield had back in the early 2010s, cannot be compared to any other team. The smooth flowing, interconnected game style of Barcelona made the club the most formidable team in all of Europe however, they have lost that and have tried to recreate that midfield ever since.

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They have added high-class players such as Philippe Coutinho and Frenkie de Jong to their midfield and they have also taken a chance on youngsters such as Riqui Puig, Ilaix Moriba, and Pedri. While Pedri and De Jong have proven to be quite good on the field, they still lack that defense-cutting pass which can help attackers such as Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi.

Fans might think that they will have to spend even more money to get a player with a great vision, however, they fail to realize that the answer to their problems may very well lie in their own youth academy.

Barcelona have a world-class midfielder in the making

La Masia has been long known to be one of the best youth academies in the world and it has given us players such as Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol, etc. Now let us introduce the next big star of La Masia, Pablo Martin Paez Gavira, or more simply known as Gavi. The 16-year-old attacking midfielder has caught the eyes of current and former coaches of La Masia and his rise up the ranks of the club has been meteoric.

The player was picked up from Real Betis’ youth academy when he was 11 years old and now after only five years at his new club, he has already broken into the B team. Gavi has become one of the youngest players in the Barcelona B team and his pace of development has left everyone baffled. His former coach, Franc Artiga, told GOAL that the player is technically gifted and has the ability to change his actions in tenths of a second. He said,

"“It is very difficult to find a player with these abilities, and with this speed of execution.”Source Goal"

The coach went on to say that Gavi has had a good year with La Masia and now he is much more physically strong. The player has learnt how to defend the ball and keep it close to him which is required at a high level of physical football. His improvement even compelled B team coach, Garcia Pimienta, to give him a start in the B team although he is only 16.

This means he has skipped an entire age group which is not normal at the academy however, his rapid growth has compelled the coach to give him a chance in the B team. His former coach said that the only thing that is a problem with Gavi is that he is hypercompetitive and although it may seem like a good feature, it can hinder his growth in the future. Pimienta also agrees with this notion and he doesn’t want to rush the player into the team. He said,

"“He is a boy who has a lot of what we look for in Barca ‘B’, who has a lot of potential, who is doing very well in the U19s, and who is developing by being able to have minutes with us. Whenever we need him, he will do well with us, but we have to be patient.”"

All of this is good news for Barcelona fans who are desperate to see more young faces on the pitch, especially ones from the youth academy. Gavi himself might have to wait a few more years before he can make his debut in the main team however, after seeing his academy games and his match against Espanyol B, he may very well be the future of Barcelona’s midfield.

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