Why Karamoko Dembele, Billy Gilmour would be perfect for Barcelona

Barcelona scouts have their sights set on a country that doesn’t often get much attention from the Catalan club. 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele of Celtic and 15-year-old Billy Gilmour of Rangers are the targets, and Barcelona are looking at these Scottish youngsters as players for the distant future. Yet, the Catalan club may be helping themselves more by using restraint on their pursuit of the teenagers.

Just about a year ago, before Karamoko Dembele was making his debut with Celtic’s U-20 squad and the U-16 Scottish team, Barcelona was prepared to bring the player to La Masia. However, the fear of FIFA regulations led both parties to choose not to go through with any deal. Now that Dembele has become a world-wide sensation, attracting major interest from both Manchester United and Manchester City due to their ability to bring him into their academies without repercussion, Barcelona must wait until the youngster is ready to make his move and hope that they made the right impression on their first attempt.

Losing a starlet like Dembele may look bad if he becomes a superstar at another major club, but in truth, any 13-year-old is still quite a few years away from stardom. Celtic is being very cautious with how the player is being courted, as they would prefer for him to come of age within the Scottish club’s system, and that should make most sense for the player as well.

However, everyone knows that the best place for a player to grow into a world-class star in Barcelona's La Masia.

Meanwhile, Barcelona are also eyeing midfielder Billy Gilmour, as scouts have caught a glimpse of the Rangers U-17 player on numerous occasions. Unlike Dembele, Gilmour is nearing his sixteenth birthday, which means that he can move to any club within the European Union if the club follows proper protocol on the treatment of the player, per Article 19 of FIFA’s transfer regulations.

With Manchester United, Arsenal and Bayern Munich also keen on the Scottish midfielder’s talent, Barcelona will have to toe the line and not breach any FIFA regulations all while making sure they are at the top of the player’s list for a possible new destination.

In regards to youth prospects, Barcelona are in a difficult spot. Due to the recent FIFA regulations, they must be extra cautious with their recruitment of young talent. However, as a club that prides itself on developing that young talent and integrating them into the first team, a trait that hasn’t been as prevalent lately, Barcelona have a strong desire to get the future Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi into La Masia.

Nevertheless, even if Dembele and Gilmour never make it into La Masia, there is still a chance that they choose to bring their services to the Camp Nou in the future due to the club’s interest in them as youths. If either of these players can touch upon the potential that Barcelona scouts see in them currently, the Catalan club could surely be an option when they have become full professionals.

Only two Scottish players have ever played at the club in its past, Steve Archibald in the 1980s and George Pattullo in the 1910s, but maybe it is time for a new batch of Scots to help lay the groundwork for Barcelona’s future.

Would you welcome Dembele at Barcelona? Should Gilmour reject any Barcelona approaches and continue his development in Scotland?