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The complex competition in the midfield at Barcelona

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Despite the doom and gloom surrounding Barcelona due to the poor results and the unresolved future of manager Ronald Koeman, there are some reasons to be hopeful and optimistic.

For starters, summer signing Memphis Depay has enjoyed a promising beginning to life at Camp Nou. Ronald Araujo has been a big positive for Barcelona, emerging as one of the best players for the club so far this season.

And, then there is the emergence of yet another generational talent in the form of Gavi. A product of the Catalans’ La Masia youth setup, the 17-year-old was given a chance during pre-season because of a lack of first-team stars due to international tournaments.

And, the teenage prodigy went on to make such a fine impression that Koeman decided to fast-track into the senior team. Having made his professional debut in the 2-1 win over Getafe in August, Gavi has gone on to make seven appearances, even registering an assist.

The performances even led to a surprise call-up to the Spanish national team, and Gavi, at the tender age of just 17, did not look out of place for even a minute. He put in a fine display against Italy, helping La Roja to the finals of the UEFA Nations League. And even though they lost the main event against France, the teenager came out with credit.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

While this is a big positive for Barcelona, it might also lead to a complex situation at the club. Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets are nailed on starters for Koeman in his three-man midfield unit, leaving one vacant spot, to be contested for by latest heartthrob Gavi and last season’s boy wonder, Pedri.

The 18-year-old burst onto the scenes last term, just like Gavi is this season, and soon became a permanent fixture in the lineup for Barcelona and gradually, Spain. Pedri went on to feature over 50 times for Barcelona, then played for Spain at the Euros and the Olympics.

All that game-time, at his age, seems to have led to fatigue and injury issues, as well as a slight decline in form. And, with Gavi’s star on the rise, it poses an interesting problem for Barcelona to choose between the two teenage prodigies.

Irrespective of that, the future looks bright for the Catalan giants as far as their midfield is concerned, with Nico Gonzalez also growing into a first-team role.

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