Barcelona's ex-academy players impressing in the Premier League

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There was a time when the senior team would be the only beneficiaries of a club's youth academy - not any longer. As the Premier League proves with its abundance of former Barcelona players, many of whom are getting first team football away from the clubs they grew up at.

Bojan Krkic, Gerard Deulofeu and Hector Bellerin are three examples of young players who are currently excelling in their new surroundings, the Arsenal man in particular.

The right back has been somewhat of a revelation since emerging into the first team, his assist against Bayern Munich emphasises his importance to the team.


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Why Barcelona produce so many players

The required standard needed to break through into the first team is so high, it's no wonder that so many of La Masia end up at other clubs. The current Barca squad is a far cry from the Guardiola era, where famously eight of the starting line-up were products of the youth system.

With a club like Barcelona, where the quality is so high, even the youth team players are expected to be of an extraordinarily high standard. They are taught philosophies and beliefs from an early age, with the desire that some will be good enough to break through into the first team.

Sergi Samper

Sergi Samper is supposedly the next in line to force his way into the senior team; Sergio Busquets is the player currently playing in his position, but at 27, he doesn't have too many years left.

The question is whether Samper will want to wait until Busquets is removed from the team. Many players before him haven't been as patient.

Former Barcelona youth coach, Andres Carrasco told Sky Sports of the difficulties Barca face when integrating youth players:

"Generationally, it's very difficult," says Carrasco. "Sergi Samper is very well placed to be able to replace Sergio Busquets. Busquets is now 27-years-old, so when Sergi is three or four years older, he will replace him. That's the idea."

Often the cycles of players don't work out perfectly, hence the reason Thiago Alcantara grew frustrated at a lack of playing time. Where Barca regret the unfortunate timing, other clubs are grateful for the young, hungry players coming their way.

Buying Back

As hard as it is to integrate some of the youth team players when the pressure and demands are as high as they are at Barca, they have made a few mistakes. Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique were both expensive errors in judgement, with the Catalans buying them back for hefty prices after letting them go for free when they were teenagers.

There is talk that the Spanish giants are contemplating a bid for Bellerin - he certainly fits the bill - young, fast and good on the ball, he looks the ideal replacement for the ageing Dani Alves.

Whether Bellerin would be open to a return is doubtful: he has matured into a top drawer fullback at Arsenal and he owes a lot of his development to Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal fans have taken the young Spaniard to their hearts, they'll be hoping he doesn't follow a similar path to another young Spaniard they got from the Barca academy.

Premier League
Gerard Pique
La Liga
Francesc Fabregas

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