An in-depth analysis of La Masía promising goalkeeper Arnau Tenas. A report of his profile, playing style and what to expect from him for the future.
No one would dare to say that FC Barcelona are unlucky to have Marc-André ter Stegen in their squad. The German keeper, bought in 2014 from Borussia Mönchengladbach, has comfortably been establishing himself as one of the world’s best in his position. Aged only 27, Barça’s No.1 always displays an astounding maturity and impeccable conditions between the sticks.
However, if there are two culés that are unfortunate to have Ter Stegen ahead of them, those are the two most promising goalkeepers at La Masía, Iñaki Peña and Arnau Tenas. At 20 and 18 years of age, respectively, they certainly have the potential to be Barcelona’s starting goalies one day. The problem is that Ter Stegen is young enough to slow their progression for some time. Still, in particular, how high is Arnau Tenas’ ceiling?
Arnau Tenas, born on 31 May 2001 in the Catalan city of Vic, was always destined to become a goalkeeper. Arnau belongs to the third generation of a family of goalkeepers. His grandfather was a keeper at Sant Andreu and La Gramenet, in the Second Division, while his father did likewise at Espanyol. So, for the Tenas, this is a vocational profession.
Actually, it was aged only 3 when Arnau decided that he wanted to be a goalkeeper “one way or another”. Thus, the youngster’s career as a shot-stopper began at his hometown club, Vic Riuprimer REFO. In the 2010/11 season, though, Arnau would move to La Masía alongside his brother, Marc Tenas. Marc chose another way: he’s a centre-forward – and he currently plays in Atlético de Madrid’s academy.
Arnau Tenas, a ball-playing goalkeeper | Photo by FC Barcelona
Arnau’s first team at Barcelona would be the Benjamín A, and from then on he would start joining other teammates to end up forming a spectacular 2001 generation. Marc Serra’s Alevín A was truly one of the best sides at La Masía in recent history, containing Arnau Tenas, Eric García, Take Kubo and Ansu Fati – one year younger than the rest – as its backbone.
At present, Tenas plays for the Juvenil A, like he did last season already – Iñaki Peña is undroppable at Barça B. Week in and week out, the teenager has been delivering spectacular performances inside his own area. However, it’s in the Youth League where fans have had the opportunity to enjoy his quality regularly and point him out as one to watch. Meanwhile, as Tenas has began to stand out for the blaugranas, he has also become a regular in the Spanish youth teams. In fact, this summer Arnau was the starter and a key component of Spain’s U19 that won the Euros for the eighth time in its history.
“Debuting with Barça B is a dream come true”Arnau Tenas
Arnau Tenas, despite playing for the Juvenil A, made his debut with Barça B in March 2019. It was against Teruel at the Miniestadi, a game won by the Pimienta’s men by 2–1. A few months later, in October this year, Tenas, who has trained with the first team in multiple occasions, got his first call-up by Ernesto Valverde. Given that Iñaki Peña had to play with Barça B against Llagostera, Arnau was included in Valverde’s squad list as the third goalkeeper for a match against Alavés.
Arnau Tenas is most renowned for his bravery to get off his line, his great reflexes, his ball-playing abilities and his incredible personality. Communication is a fundamental aspect in his game. It is usual to find him giving instructions, warning the defenders to be careful with their mark, or simply motivating his colleagues. As the deepest of all players on the pitch, Arnau has a broad perspective of what happens in front of him, and therefore he constantly tries to transmit his views to his teammates.
“In every game I try to communicate, order and lead the team. This makes me maintain the concentration and thus, when required, I can help the team by making saves. Communicate every few minutes in order to remain focused”Arnau Tenas
Apart from his impressive leadership, the 18-year-old keeps a cool head with the ball at his feet. He’s never afraid of taking risks, despite he’s conscious that this can cost him dearly at times – as in last campaign’s UEFA Youth League semi-final versus Chelsea. This is what the player himself confessed regarding his abilities: “There’s always something to improve. I would try to improve the fact that sometimes I get too confident when I have the ball. I think that building up play is one of my strengths, as well as my personality. I try to help my team by communicating and leading them”.
Other than these qualities, which are rare in the traditional goalkeeper, Arnau Tenas is an impressively reliable guardian of his own goal. Like Iñaki Peña, Arnau seems to have watched a lot of videos of Ter Stegen too, as both fit accurately into the mould of the German international. Cool and composed, Tenas has nerves of steel and is bold and strong in the air. With a quick reaction time, fast movements and determination, he becomes gigantic to the eyes of the opposing strikers in one-on-one situations.
What does the future hold for Arnau Tenas?
While Arnau Tenas continues to grow in leaps and bounds at La Masía, it’s easy to imagine a bright future for him as, alongside Iñaki Peña, he’s one of the best keepers at the academy in the past decade. Arnau perfectly embodies the figure of the modern goalkeeper: calm under pressure, with a pinpoint distribution, and with extraordinary reflexes. If you add to such traits his winning mentality and character, it becomes clear that Tenas is born to succeed at the Camp Nou.
With that being said, a number of conditions will have to be met for that to happen, as he has just entered adulthood and has two terrific goalies ahead of him – Ter Stegen and Iñaki. Notwithstanding, if he’s patient and waits for his opportunity, Arnau Tenas undoubtedly has what it takes to become a future starter at Barcelona.
Barcelona B vs Valladolid Promesas: Match preview – First step towards promotion
Everything you need to know ahead of the match between Barcelona B and Valladolid Promeses at Malaga
As Barcelona B face Valladolid Promesas at Estadi Ciudad de Malaga, we take a look at the very crucial match-up in this match preview.
Date and kick-off time: Sunday 19 July 2020, 20:00 CET
Stadium: Estadio Ciudad de Málaga
Competition: Segunda División B play-offs for promotion to Segunda, first round
For a team like Barcelona, for whom youth development is one of the core philosophies, the Barcelona B team’s results are highly important as well. After getting relegated to Segunda B, Barcelona B started another quest to get promotion to the Segunda division. After a hard-fought season at Segunda B, the B team under the superb guidance of García Pimienta, has reached the playoffs. These playoffs are the stepping stones towards the Segunda. This is a very important match for the Blaugrana youngsters as they face Valladolid’s B team, the Valladolid Promesas and in this preview, we’ll take a look at this match-up.
Due to the unfortunate pandemic this year, the playoffs have had a few changes made to them. The qualifying criteria are still the same. The top four teams of each B league are drawn into the playoffs. From here, the usual final between the two winners to decide the overall Segunda B winners was removed. Instead, the losing semi-finalists will enter the play-off round for the remaining two promotion spots.
The four group runners-up will be drawn against one of the three fourth-placed teams outside their group. Whereas the four third-placed teams will be drawn against each other in a single game matchup. The six winners will advance along with the two losing semi-finalists to determine the four teams that play for the last two promotion spots.
Basically, the Barcelona B team will need to do their best in the next three rounds to gain promotion.
For Barcelona B, this match-up has gotten tougher than expected. Firstly, Ansu Fati, Riqui Puig and Ronald Araújo won’t be allowed to play in the playoffs. Barcelona coach Quique Setién clarified this in a recent press conference.
Barça B will have many key absences in the playoffs | Photo by Aflosport via Imago
The fact that some of the strongest players that Barcelona B had throughout the season along with Ansu Fati, who made the jump to the first team from Juvenil A, won’t be present to help them win promotion is a major setback. Along with this, Álex Collado won’t be able to play as he recently suffered an injury. For Valladoid, this is a major advantage. The reason for their absence was specified so as to not avoid any complications in the Champions League.
“I would have liked the circumstances to be different, I’m sorry but it will not be possible for them to play with the B team”
Players such as Kike Saverio, Guillem Jaime, Chumi, and Hiroki Abe who were important parts of the team won’t be able to play as well due to their contracts not being renewed. This should mean that we see a lot of Juvenil A players get a chance to play. Especially since 9 of them have been announced in the squad.
The silver lining
Many people are of the opinion that since getting promotion to Segunda would mean that our La Masía players get more playtime at a better level next season. This is a very valid argument. The fact that Ansu Fati, Riqui Puig, and Ronald Araújo have still been restricted from going for the play-offs is quite controversial. But there is a silver lining.
With their absence and the many expired contracts, we see that 9 Juvenil A keepers have been called up. These players will get an opportunity to play for the B team in an important match, which will definitely help them as they rarely get to play at a match this important. Players such as Monchu, Ilaix, Jandro will get to prove that they are capable of filling up the massive personalities that Puig and Collado provided. It’s a good chance for them to display their abilities. For players like Konrad, Peque, Nico it’s a good chance to show that regardless of the result, the B team will be in safe hands next season.
And if they do get promoted, it would be a major boost for all the La Masia graduates looking at their seniors and looking up at the players who made it into the first team from La Masia. The players at Barcelona B would next season have an excellent opportunity to develop in the Segunda against the more experienced teams.
Winning this match would of course be an achievement for Pimienta. But if he were to win the playoffs in such difficult circumstances, Pimienta’s status as an excellent manager and a youth-development expert would only be solidified even more. This should make him a real contender, and not a plan B, in case Setien has to leave Barcelona in the near future. Pimienta definitely deserves it and this would be a great opportunity for him to show that he is ready.
Barcelona B face a very challenging match-up now. It certainly is a daunting challenge. Even though they don’t have the services of many of their players, they still have their greatest weapon in Garcia Pimienta. He is more capable than almost anyone to lead this group of youngsters with whom he has worked closely for such a long time.
Pimi, along with his players are a capable team. This match however, is much more than just a win-lose moment. Winning this match would signify that another generation of promising players such as Alena, Puig, Miranda, Oriol is coming through. Not only this, but it would provide the juniors, especially the Juvenil A and Juvenil B with hope that there is a way to get close to the first team and that the Barcelona B team is still a capable force that they should strive towards aiming for. The match against Valladolid Promeses is important not just for Barcelona B but for La Masia itself.