Barcelona were once famed for promoting from within their own academy, but as Marc Cucurella tells it, that’s no longer the case. The 21-year-old left back/winger, currently on loan at Getafe, talks about his time in La Masia in worse terms than even discarded Chelsea Academy graduates from before Lampard’s Youth Revolution™ ever talked about Cobham and its blocked pathways to the first-team!
“I think that at Barcelona [...] maybe they don’t have the patience that they [once] had. As a cantera player, which I am, they don’t give you the chances you deserve. I don’t like it because I expected they would be more confident in the youth academy.”
-Marc Cucurella; source: Goal
In fairness to Cucurella, he does acknowledge that Barcelona (just as Chelsea) are expected to win and that can often take precedence over giving opportunities to youth. It’s a tricky balance to find between winning and development, and we’ve certainly seen Chelsea favor one side at the expense of the other over the years.
Cucurella’s case is also a bit extra egregious, since Barca have been making no qualms about using him as a cash-generating vehicle. They loaned him out to Eibar last season, with a €2m buy-option and a €4m buy-back. Sixteen days after Eibar exercised their option last summer, Barca exercised the buy-back. Just two days later, they loaned him out to Getafe, with a €6m buy-option plus a 40 per cent sell-on. Clearly, Barca have no plans on giving him an actual first-team opportunity.
But Cucurella’s proving to be a useful left-sided option for Getafe, who are (were) having a wonderful season challenging for third in La Liga and had just knocked out Ajax from the Europa League before COVID-19 shut everything down. So much so in fact, that he’s been linked with the likes of Napoli, Gladbach, and Bayer Leverkusen.
And according to Goal, Chelsea have also been scouting the versatile left-footed player, who can play anywhere on the left flank, though he’s apparently a much lower priority target than the likes of Ben Chilwell and Alex Telles — and probably a lot cheaper, too, with a rumored €25m buyout clause expected to be in place once Getafe exercise their own €6m option. (A 40% sell-on would thus net Barcelona another €10m from Cucurella.)
It’s a good thing we’re such experts in monitoring players! It’s not like we have anything better to do for the foreseeable future...
Oh wait, there are no games in which to monitor! Uh-oh!