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Barcelona sign three academy players from their eternal rivals – report

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Photo by PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

The rivalry between Barcelona and Espanyol is well documented but has died down in hype after the latter’s relegation to the second division.

After finishing fourth in La Liga 2 this past season, the Catalan outfit are trailing Real Oviedo in the promotion playoff finals and might have to wait longer for a return to the first division.

Seizing the opportunity, Barcelona have their eyes on Espanyol’s academy and hope to pull off a stunning heist of young talents.

According to reports from SPORT, Barcelona are set to sign three Espanyol academy gems – Xavier Mirangels, Unai Balmon and Pere Villacorta.

La Masia’s resurgence and the dream of playing for the Blaugrana first team appear to be the factors enabling the special operation.

Two signings for the midfield

Xavier Mirrangels is one of the most exciting talents in the Espanyol academy and is said to be a wizard in tight spaces. He excels on the creativity front and can pull off decisive and defence-splitting passes even from narrow openings.

Belonging to the 2009 generation, the youngster plied his trade for Espanyol’s Cadet B team last season and will play for Barcelona’s Cadet A.

Unai Balmon plays in a similar position to Mirangel but is one year younger and thus played in the Infantil A team last season.

While he did spend considerable time in the shadow of his teammates, his performances have improved and come to notice in recent years and Barcelona see him as a valuable addition as a deeper-lying midfielder. He will play for Barça Cadet B.

The defensive signing

The third operation the Catalans are completing is the signing of Pere Villacorta, a versatile defender capable of playing both as a central defender and as a left-back.

Further, he is a left-footed centre-back which only increases his value in the football world.

A born leader on the field, the 2010-generation star is seen as a long-term signing who can be moulded according to the team’s needs.

He will be Barcelona’s third signing from their eternal rivals’ academy, but perhaps not the last as there are other players on the radar as well.

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