Torres, Fati, Gavi, Pedri: Barcelona and Xavi's exciting potential XI of under-23 players

  • Kobe Tong
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Barcelona look like an absolute mess at first glance.

It’s easy to read the worrying reports about Barca‘s finances married to Lionel Messi‘s exit and their lowly position of seventh in La Liga and think that everything is going wrong at Camp Nou.

And don’t get it twisted, we’re not here to proclaim that it’s actually all sunshine and rainbows in Catalonia, but we are here to offer some level of comfort by highlighting their stellar young players.

Young prospects at Camp Nou

In the years since the club’s golden generation of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Pedro, Messi and so on, it’s been easy to think that the well has run dry when it comes to the talent coming out of La Masia.

However, through all the economic disasters and transfer catastrophes of the last two years, we’re happy to proclaim that Barcelona’s fabled academy has returned to pumping out top-class starlets.

From the Messi-esque flashes of genius from Ansu Fati to the Golden Boy-winning exploits of Pedri, there are enough young stars pulling on the famous red and blue stripes to start feeling excited again.

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Torres’ impending arrival

And with the Blaugrana on the verge of adding to their reserves of young talent with the impending signing of Ferran Torres, 21, from Manchester City, the future is starting to look a little brighter. 

Fabrizio Romano confirmed on Wednesday that the Spain forward had agreed a five-year deal to come to Barcelona with Xavi having always made the transfer a priority of his tenure.

And we’re so buoyed by Barcelona’s promising prospects that we wanted to shine a light on exactly how many young stars Xavi has coming through the ranks ahead of 2022.

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Barcelona’s finest U23 line-up

To do that, we’ve drawn up the finest XI of players under the age of 23 that the Barca legend could field once they complete their £46.7-million move, complete with £8.5 million in add-ons, for Torres.

So, let’s take a glass-half-full attitude by looking into Barcelona’s future with an unabashed excitement as we walk through the club’s potential line-up of young players down below:

GK: Iñaki Peña (22)

One of the weaker players in the team, it must be said, but Peña will have learnt plenty of valuable knowledge from Marc-Andre ter Stegen as he awaits his first senior appearance for Barcelona.

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RB: Sergiño Dest (21)

It hasn’t been all plain sailing for Dest in Catalonia with rumours of an exit still persisting, but there have have been plenty of bright parks, particularly at wing-back, across his 57 outings nonetheless.

CB: Ronald Araújo (22)

A swaggering presence in the Barcelona back-line, Araújo already boasts more than 50 matches for the club, featuring two La Liga goals this season, while Uruguay have bestowed him with five caps.

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CB: Eric Garcia (20) 

While Garcia might not have hit the ground running since his City exit in the summer, the Spain international simply boasts too much pedigree and class not to come good for Barca eventually.

LB: Alejandro Balde (18)

It’s still early days for one of the youngest players in the XI and don’t allow his patchy game time under both Ronald Koeman and Xavi lure into thinking that he’s not talent and potential in spades.

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CM: Nico González (19)

With a winning goal in the 3-2 clash against Elche on Saturday, Nico reminded La Liga that he’s the umpteenth midfield talent to come out of Camp Nou – and the footballing world really is his oyster.

CM: Pedri (19)

Now we’re really talking. You only had to watch a single minute of the Golden Boy winner at Euro 2020 to know that Pedri could be Barca and Spain’s best player for the next 10 years and beyond.

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CM: Gavi (17)

The youngest player in the history of Spain’s senior team, Gavi not only blows our mind with his 2004 birth date, but also his Italy and France masterclasses and stunning first goal for Barcelona.

RW: Abde Ezzalzouli (20)

Abde has arguably been Barcelona’s best performer f the Xavi era and his entertainingly direct style reaped a first senior goal during his Man of the Match display at Osasuna on December 12.

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ST: Ferran Torres (21)

The final piece in Barca’s U23 puzzle, Torres is a young gem waiting to explode with more game time and his solid start to the Premier League season before getting injured certainly bodes well.

LW: Ansu Fati (19)

Barcelona’s first number 10 of the post-Messi era, Fati is Spain’s youngest ever goalscorer and is only a clean run of fitness away from being one of Europe’s most deadly and creative wingers.

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Get excited, Barca fans

Ok, so, it’s not exactly the young generation that Pep Guardiola had on his hands back in 2008 and 201q, but few clubs can lay claim to quite so many exciting prospects in their squad right now.

You only have to look at the electric performances being laid down by Fati, Gavi and Pedri before their 20th birthdays to get drunk on the idea of how incredible they might be in their prime.

Terry brutally honest on Ralf Rangnick (Football Terrace)

Naturally, there are plenty of cautionary tales of young stars never fulfilling their potential, but you’ll forgive us for thinking that very little talent will fall by the wayside with Xavi’s hand on the wheel.

And even if a few of the starlets in our line-up don’t quite reach the dizzying heights expected of them, Barca can sleep easy knowing that they have so much quality that they won’t all fall short.

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