Football Manager fans, rejoice: the Beta of FM2023 is here. Say goodbye to your social life for the next few months.
If you fancy yourself as the next Pep Guardiola, Barcelona present an interesting and unique challenge in the latest edition of the game. They’re one of the biggest clubs in world football, but have fallen off their perch and are aiming to get back.
You’ll be blessed with proven superstars like Ousmane Dembele and Robert Lewandowski, but you’ll have to lean on the youth of La Masia if you really want to make your mark at the Camp Nou.
As ever, Barcelona continue to churn out some prodigiously talented starlets at a quite ridiculous rate. You’re spoilt for choice.
We’ve taken a look through the 10 players that FM Scout have earmarked as Barcelona’s current crop of wonderkids.
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Barcelona signed experienced Spain international Marcos Alonso on deadline day and Jordi Alba remains at the club.
But the best left-back at the club is arguably Barcelona-born Balde, who has developed his skills in La Masia since he was a child.
The 19-year-old is enjoying a brilliant breakthrough season. He’s started eight of Barca’s 10 La Liga matches so far this season and has already notched three assists. His wonderkid status in Football Manager 2023 reflects a teenager that’s got tons of potential.
The midfielder only turned 18 in the summer but he’s already been turning heads for a year and has already made himself indispensable to Xavi’s Barcelona.
If you’ve watched any of La Blaugrana over the past 12 months, you’ll know how special this kid is.
READ: Dial 999, Gavi stole Leo Messi’s killer instinct and is using it to end careers
Tipped as the heir to fellow La Masia graduate Sergio Busquets, there’s a strong argument that Nico Gonzalez could’ve been a really useful player for Xavi’s side this season.
In your Football Manager save, you might even consider moving Busquets on and leaning on the 20-year-old right now. In real life, Xavi retains faith in his former team-mate Busquets and has sent Nico out on loan along with six others.
He’s out at Valencia, who are flying under new boss Gennaro Gattuso. However, if the plan was for Nico to get regular first-team minutes, they might’ve chosen a more suitable destination. The starlet has started just three of 10 games for Los Che so far this season.
It’s crazy to think that Fati is not yet 20, but three years have already passed since he made his La Liga debut for his boyhood club.
The attacker’s early appearances for Barcelona and Spain suggested he might just be a once-in-a-generation talent – La Masia’s modern-day equivalent of Lionel Messi.
Unfortunately, the young prodigy has suffered badly with injuries and we’re still waiting for him to unlock his true potential on a consistent basis. But he’s still got tons of time on his side and there are encouraging signs he’s on the right track now.
He’s already played more minutes in La Liga in 2022-23 than he managed in the entirety of last season, with three goals and three assists from 10 appearances so far. That works out as a direct goal contribution every 56 minutes.
Best youngster Ever Ansu Fati 🇪🇸💫pic.twitter.com/unwjAS9sOm
— Jr🐍 (@JrErick10) October 17, 2022
Another loanee to look out for, the Moroccan international winger is spending the 2022-23 campaign out at La Liga’s surprise package Osasuna.
Like Nico, he’s having to be patient for opportunities, but perhaps he’ll feature more regularly for Jagoba Arrasate’s side more often going forward after assisting Ante Budimir’s match-winner against Espanyol in midweek.
A lesser-known name, Pedrola’s first-team experience amounts to a brief 10-minute cameo in a 1-0 win over Mallorca last season. The right winger, 19, is continuing his development at Barcelona B.
“As a youngster he was already the best striker in Spain. This year he has made the physical change. He has put himself at 185 centimetres and that has helped him a lot,” Xavi Castro, the president of Pedrola’s former academy Fundacio Futbol Base Reus, said of the forward.
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Akhomach – alongside fellow youngsters Gavi, Nico and Ezzalzouli – was a surprise starter in Xavi’s first match in charge of Barcelona, a 1-0 victory against city rivals Espanyol, last November.
He was only 17 at the time, and that was his debut. Just two further appearances have followed since then, and for now he’s kicking on in the B team.
“Fabio Blanco was tempted by a few top European sides, but had the good sense to decide to come to Frankfurt. His technical ability is outstanding. He’ll have the chance to flourish here,” said Ben Manga, Eintracht Frankfurt’s director of professional football, when the highly-rated Spanish teenager reportedly turned down Barcelona and Real Madrid to sign for the Bundesliga outfit last summer.
Fast forward six months and he’s ended up at Barcelona after all, having signed for the club in January. He’s yet to make his senior debut but is another B team prospect worth keeping an eye out for.
READ: 10 great quotes on Barcelona’s Pedri: ‘He’s the best talent in the world’
Barcelona paid €5million to Racing Santander in March to secure Torre’s services. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is registered with Barca B for now, but made his first-team debut in the closing stages of their 5-1 Champions League victory over Victoria Plzen.
He remains contracted at the Camp Nou until 2026 and is expected to have a big future in the game.
READ NEXT: 13 high-profile stars that failed to deliver at Barcelona since 2010
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