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Three Barcelona youngsters who could benefit in pre-season following Pedri’s injury

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Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona midfielder Pedri faced an unfortunate setback recently, sustaining a significant injury during Spain’s triumph over Germany in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals. 

The knock, delivered by Toni Kroos, is set to keep him sidelined for at least a month. This injury could not have come at a worse time for both Pedri and Barcelona, especially with new coach Hansi Flick gearing up for the team’s crucial pre-season tour in the USA.

The immediate concern for Barcelona is the shortage of midfield options. With Pedri out for an extended period and Fermin Lopez departing for the Olympics right after the Euros, the team faces a genuine midfield crisis. 

Adding to this challenge is Ilkay Gundogan’s late return due to Germany’s recent elimination from Euro 2024, leaving him little time to integrate into Flick’s tactical plans. 

His role in the midfield double pivot aims to compensate for Frenkie de Jong’s absence due to injury, thereby leaving a significant void in the number 10 position within Flick’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

Amidst these trials, the focus shifts to identifying potential replacements who can step up during Pedri’s absence in the upcoming pre-season. Here are three young talents poised to seize this opportunity:

Unai Hernandez

Unai Hernandez presents a strong case for himself. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

At just 19 years old, Unai Hernandez has shone brightly for Barça Athletic, featuring prominently in 38 matches across various competitions last season. 

His impressive tally of 10 goals and seven assists underscores his versatility across multiple positions, including as a number 10, left-winger, and central midfielder. 

Hernandez’s standout performances for the youth team position him favourably to make a significant impact under Flick’s guidance.

Noah Darvich

Hansi Flick knows about Noah Darvich. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images for DFB)

Noah Darvich, a 17-year-old German talent, has caught Flick’s attention with his attacking prowess. Originally an attacking midfielder, Darvich has adapted well to Barça’s style of play, earning the trust of youth coach Rafa Marquez. 

With prior familiarity from their time in Germany’s youth setups, Darvich stands poised to be extensively utilized during the upcoming pre-season, showcasing his potential to thrive in Flick’s plans.

Aleix Garrido

Aleix Garrido has had injury issues this season. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

In contrast to the others, Aleix Garrido’s journey has been marked by adversity. The 20-year-old midfielder has faced persistent injury setbacks, most recently battling a foot injury that forced him into a challenging recovery phase. 

While his availability for the start of pre-season remains uncertain, Garrido’s resilience and determination to overcome these obstacles make him a compelling candidate for gradual integration into Flick’s squad. 

Conclusion

As Barcelona go through this period of uncertainty and lack of options, the emergence of these young talents presents a glimmer of hope amidst the injury woes. 

Each player brings a unique set of skills and aspirations, eager to prove their mettle and secure a pivotal role in Flick’s plans for the upcoming campaign. 

Their success in filling the void left by Pedri’s absence will not only be crucial for immediate tactical adjustments but also for fostering long-term squad depth and resilience.

Flick’s tenure as a Barcelona manager has gotten off with plenty of issues already but with options available within the youth team, he must not shy away from using what he has.

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