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Alla Zakarian

10-10-2019 | 17:39 Football
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8 Barcelona youngsters to succeed Messi and Co in “Operation Future”

Barcelona have established a renovation plan titled “operation future” by the Spanish press. Their squad is now ageing, including Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Luis Suarez, who have already passed the 30-year-old mark, and they need fresh blood to boost their performance. Under head coach Ernesto Valverde, the Catalan giants have witnessed 14 debutants from their well-known academy, La Masia: among them Ansu Fati, 16 and Carles Perez, 21. Here are eight youngsters or “pearls” as describes Mundo Deportivo that can join the Barcelona squad in the near future. Ansu Fati, 16, forward Fati has been given a chance to do his best when Messi, Suarez and Dembele were injured, and since then has impressed everybody with his techniques and abilities. He became the youngest player in La Liga history to record a goal and an assist in the same game during Barcelona’s 5-2 win over Valencia last month. The 16-year-old striker has made five La Liga appearances and netted twice. Fati was born in Guinea-Bissau, but is now a Spanish citizen and will be lining up for Spanish national team. Pedri, 16, attacking midfielder Pedro Gonzalez Lopez will officially join Blaugranas in July 2020 for £4.5million. He currently plays for Las Palmas, a second division team, where he has made nine appearances scoring three goals and assisting once. Reportedly, Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has described Pedri as his successor at Camp Nou. Riqui Puig, 20, central midfielder Barcelona youngster has already impressed everyone with his performance in Barcelona B. He played six games with his team, scored two goals and assisted once. He made an excellent performance for the first team in a friendly match against Arsenal in August. The same month he received the Young Player of the Year award at the Catalan Player of the Year awards. Ilaix Moriba, 16, central midfielder Moriba has been compared to Paul Pogba and would probably cost the same as the World Cup winner, when he moved to Manchester United in 2016, if he decides to leave Barcelona. They value the youngster very much and put a really high release clause of £90 million. In Barcelona B he has made seven appearances this season, scored and assisted once. Jean-Clair Todibo, 19, central defender Todibo partnered with Gerard Pique in central defence during Sunday’s 4-0 win over Sevilla, as Clement Lenglet had had a red card and Samuel Umtiti was injured. It was the Frenchman’s official debut at Camp Nou as the other three games he was in were away. He will have another chance to show his skills at Eibar after the international break. Ronald Araujo, 20, central defender Araujo substituted Todibo in the match against Sevilla but was sent off having played just 14 minutes. He joined Barcelona’s squad for the tour in Japan and played against Andres Iniesta’s new team, Vissel Kobe. He also has a £90 million release clause in his contract and it will be doubled if he becomes a first-team player. Carles Perez, 21, winger Perez made a huge impression in Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Japanese Vissel Kobe this summer, netting both goals. He joined Barcelona in 2012 from city rivals Espanyol.  The 21-year-old Catalan became a Barcelona B top scorer last season with nine goals in 26 appearances. Like Araujo and Moriba, he also has a release clause of £90 million. Alex Collado, 20, attacking midfielder/winger Collado had his opportunity in the first team as Dembele was forced off after six minutes in a 2-0 loss to Celta last season. He has scored twice in six games with Barcelona B and showed a standout performance against Atletico Levante last month.

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