Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has promised a ‘takeover’ of young stars at the club next season to support their more experienced players.
The Catalan giants have already signed Las Palmas’ 17-year-old attacking midfielder Pedri and 20-year-old Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao from Braga ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Barcelona also agreed a deal with Brazilian outfit Sao Paulo for 22-year-old midfielder Matheus Fernandes on transfer deadline day in January before he was shipped out to Real Valladolid on loan for the rest of the season.
Academy products Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig – who have been promoted to the first team along with centre-back Ronald Araujo – were also one of the few shining lights for Quique Setien’s side, who have also brought in experienced Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic.
But speaking to a source known to NobleSports, Bartomeu insisted Fatiand Puig’s introduction was just the beginning of a youth revolution at Camp Nou to back up the likes of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
‘I don’t agree when it is said that these group of players who are older than 30 have lost their ambition,’ Bartomeu said. ‘They are the best. They play very well. They train well and try. They have ambition.
‘The best thing is the combination, their experience combined with those who are coming in. They keep their ambition intact, the desire to win and enjoy. And if sometimes they get angry and make comments it is because they are competitive and want to win.
‘The next generation are coming. But the most beautiful thing about football is to combine these players from in-house who have been winning for many years with these youngsters who come with the desire to win.
‘The older players are still ambitious, I’m not only talking about Leo, but also about Suarez, [Gerard] Pique, [Jordi] Alba, [Sergio] Busquets etc., these players who are already 30, without forgetting about people like [Clement] Lenglet, [Ousmane] Dembele, [Marc-Andre] ter Stegen or [Nelson] Semedo, who are young.
‘Now another crop of youngsters have come: three signings, including Matheus, and three promoted from the B team. The arrival of seven players in one year, including Pjanic, is not bad, it is a third of a squad.’