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Five youth players that will become important for Hansi Flick’s Barcelona – analysis

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Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona’s decision to appoint Hansi Flick as the manager of the team came as a bold step considering the team’s philosophy.

For years now, the Catalans have stuck to managers who view the game with a certain mindset. Possession football apart, it was vital for incoming managers to impose an attractive ‘tiki-taka’ style of football.

The German tactician’s arrival, needless to say, brings with it a lot of change. Advocating for a more direct and incisive style of football, Flick’s ideology is different from the club’s traditional approach and comes as a gamble by the administration.

Upon his arrival, the new coach will not receive much support from the board in terms of financial backing or new signings. What he will inherit, however, is a generation of highly talented youngsters from La Masia who he has been following for a while now.

Barça Universal brings you five youth players who will become important in Hansi Flick’s setup.

Pau Cubarsi

Already a mainstay. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Cubarsi, by far, was the most surprising breakout star for Barcelona last season. The youngster was indeed known to be one of the academy’s brightest talents but not many expected him to boss the senior division in the manner that he did.

Despite the presence of several starting-worthy options in the setup, Xavi persisted with Cubarsi as his first-choice centre-back alongside Ronald Araujo and Flick is said to see the player to be equally vital in his project.

The defender’s participation in the Olympics may well see him miss the opening games of the new season, but Cubarsi will certainly have a big role under Flick upon his return.

Unai Hernandez

A special talent on the rise. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

19-year-old Unai Hernandez has been all over the news and for all the right reasons after he scored a three-minute hat-trick to turn the tide in Barça Atletic’s favour against UD Ibiza in the semifinal of the Primera RFEF promotion playoff.

His heroics in the do-or-die game, however, were not by chance. The youngster has been in sublime form for Rafa Marquez’s side all season including ten goals in the Primera Federacion alone.

On the cusp of promotion with the subsidiary team, Hernandez has made a strong case to be part of the first team next season. 

He is best placed as an attacking midfielder but his ability to make a difference as a left-winger opens many doors to Hansi Flick’s setup for the youngster.

Fermin Lopez

One of the breakout stars of last season. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)

One of the players who benefitted the most from Flick’s appointment at Bayern Munich was Thomas Muller.

Deployed in an attacking-midfield role, the German international acted as the fulcrum of the team in attack, lying in the spaces between the forwards and making incisive runs into the box.

Fermin, in many ways, is the player in Barcelona who most closely resembles Muller’s profile. The youngster showed great promise throughout the season and completed La Liga with as many goals as Real Madrid’s midfield combined. Will he be Flick’s Muller at Barcelona?

Marc Casado

Casado deserving of a first-team promotion. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

It is clear at this point that Barcelona’s system next season will be heavily dependent on the defensive midfielders lying deep. After all, Hansi Flick’s trademark double-pivot is the fundamental basis of his 4-2-3-1 structure.

Casado, on that front, could become a regular with the first team next season especially given that he is tailor-made for the aforementioned niche. Reports earlier this week revealed that Joan Laporta too had big expectations from the academy player.

Having honed his skills through and through in Catalonia, Casado is flawless with his ball control, vision and even brings the right balance of physicality when the situation demands it.

Expect to see more of the youngster under a manager who will undoubtedly be short of options in the defensive midfield.

Lamine Yamal

A superstar in the making. (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

A full-time starter for both club and country in his first full season at the highest level, Lamine Yamal is one of the hottest assets in world football. 

Known for developing and prioritising incisive wingers with the ability to break open defences, Flick will be impatient to begin working with Spain’s latest teenage sensation. 

While it will be vital to balance his minutes and respect his limits, the world will see a lot more of Yamal and heightened pressure on his shoulders. If his first full season with the first team is anything to go by, he is ready to take on the same.

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