Gerard Deulofeu must prove his worth at Sevilla

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Breaking into the Barcelona first-team squad is never easy, but Gerard Deulofeu wasn't the only person shocked that Barça boss Luís Enrique allowed the 20-year-old to join Sevilla on a season-long loan.

The mercurial winger had somewhat of a breakout season last year, whilst on loan to Premier League side Everton, earning his first call-up to La Roja.

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Deulofeu was unveiled to the in-house press at the Camp Nou in pre-season, alongside fellow Barcelona B graduate Rafinha, and with Alexis Sanchez's departure would have expected to see first-team football for Barcelona this season. 

However, Enrique's decision is Sevilla's gain, as long as Deulofeu steps up and establishes himself as a key part of a successful outfit, fresh from Europa League success.

Assessing Deulofeu's season with Everton

Deulofeu's time on Merseyside was arguably not quite as successful as his call up to the national side would suggest. Roberto Martinez wasn't afraid to put his full faith in youth, as Ross Barkley and Jon Stones would attest to.

However ,Deulofeu - due to injuries and inconstancy - was mainly used as an impact player, with 16 of his25 appearances coming off the bench.

The La Masia graduate showed flashes of genius, for example his explosive strike against Arsenal, and tormented full-backs sporadically, but his lack of end-product was evident in his return of only three goals and three assist.

Too often when Deulofeu stated games his influence would drift in-and-out, which wasn't surprising given it was his first taste of consistent top-level senior football.   

Why Sevilla?  

Whilst Deulofeu may have been shocked at Barça's willingness to loan him out, a spell with Los Rojiblancos represents a major chance for the 20-year-old to emerge as one of the outstanding creative talents in La Liga, on a regular basis.

The signing of Éver Banega, an unplayable central midfielder when on his game, should ensure Deulofeu has the service required to showcase his full array of tricks and twists, whilst he has the powerful Colombian striker Carlos Bacca to provide for.

Sevilla battled their way to Europe League glory last season, so Deulofeu is entering a squad that knows how to win at the highest level, and will be competing in the Champions League.

Having lost the creativity of Ivan Rakitic to Barcelona, Sevilla have been shrewd in acquiring Deulofeu, Banega and Denis Suárez, another Barça loanee, who impressed in Sevilla's defeat to Real Madrid in the European Super Cup.

The trio will need to be at their best to replace the Croatian, who single-handedly dragged his side to victory at times last season.

What does the future hold?

Deulofeu isn't being loaned out in the same way Bojan was, when the emphasis appeared to be on finding a suitor rather than progressing his chances of playing for Barcelona.

Los Culés have a plethora of number ten's, but if Deulofeu can establish himself as potent wide-man, in similar style to Pedro, then he has a fantastic chance of becoming an integral part of Barcelona's first-team squad.

This season is pivotal for Deulofeu. Long vaunted as the next major graduate of La Masia to establish themselves in world football, Deulofeu needs to transfer his evident potential into match-winning ability. He has the field upon which to do so at Sevilla, so it is time for the 20-year-old to show his worth.     


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