With the European club season nearly having concluded, the focus is turning to the multitude of possible transfers that may occur. The latest rumour that has caught my my eye is that of Barcelona possibly aquiring Thiago Silva from Milan in exchange for Thiago Alcantara plus cash.
My initial reaction is that we should not sell one of our most promising young players. However, the key question in whether it would actually be a good deal for Barcelona is whether Thiago Alcantara will develop into a truly great player or will he be just be another good player.
Barcelona is famous for the quality of its La Masia youth development program. In any game, at least half of the current Barcelona team on the field consists of La Masia products. However, it is one thing to be a talented young player. It is quite another to become a first team regular at a club like Barcelona. For example, it took three or four years for Andres Iniesta to truly establish himself in the Barcelona first team and there are few players in the world better than El Blanquito Blaugrana.
The way things currently stand there will be plenty of talented young players in next season's Barcelona first team squad. Players such as Thiago Alcantera, Isaac Cuenca, Christian Tello, Martin Montoya, Marc Muniesa, Andreu Fontas, Marc Bartra, and Sergi Roberto will all be competing for the first team playing time they need to develop as players.
In five years the majority of these players could quite possibly be the nucleus of a winning Barcelona first team. However, at the moment they need to be very selectively integrated with the established players so as to ensure that the first team continues to win on a regular basis. Young players need playing time to develop but experienced players must form the basis of any winning team.
However, a young player only gains experience by playing.
It is impossible to determine in advance how good the players I have mentioned will become. Thiago Alcantara had quite a good initial season in the first team without completely establishing himself. Barcelona must now try to decide how good he will become in the future.
The same question will apply to many of the other players I have mentioned. Of course, not all La Masia products can be kept. For example, Bojan Krkic and Oriol Romeu moved on at the end of last season. These are difficult decisions for the club to make as the goal is to ensure that the best players are retained and not lost to other clubs.
If the rumour about a possible Thiago swap is true, it is a real dilemma for Barcelona to try to resolve.
Would they be getting rid of a future world class player or simply a player who will be good but probably not great?
I really don't know the answer to the dilemma yet.
Posted by: Drago , Columnist at 'Culé Talk'