La Masia: Brian Peña

A traditional attacking midfielder who operates up the middle and needs cover behind him is losing his place in modern football, but they are truly the difference-makers if given the opportunity. Barcelona have some of those creators in their ranks and one of their most promising has only recently found his way to La Masia. Juvenil B's Brian Peña pulls the strings for his side and it may not be long before he pulls the strings as a professional.

Brian Peña Perez-Vico was born in Vilafranca del Penedés, Spain, just about 45 km from the Camp Nou, on June 20, 2002, and the story goes that he started out with a ball as a toddler. While he was admitted to the FCBEscola, the flagship FC Barcelona school, he had to wait for quite a few years before making his way to La Masia.

After five years with FCBEscola, he was picked up by CF Damm and he began to blossom as a player. He wasn't at Damm for long before being snatched up by RCD Espanyol, where he spent three seasons. He often impressed against Barcelona in the derbies, and while Barcelona said that they had him on their radar for awhile, it was Franc Artiga who supposedly pushed for the player.

He made the move in July of 2018 and immediately jumped into Artiga's midfield with Juvenil B, joining the likes of Álex Rico and Marc Doménech and fitting in well playing in front of the two more naturally defensive midfielders. While he has appeared for the Catalonia U-16s, he is hoping that his strong performances get him into La Roja camp someday with teammates Rico and forward Raúl Moro. In the same vein, he was registered for the UEFA Youth League this season but it appears that he will need to wait until next season to make his mark on the competition.

Due to his vision, dribbling and desire to let a long shot fly, he has drawn loose comparisons to Philippe Coutinho. Part of Coutinho's problem in Barcelona's system is the same problem that Peña may face in his own career at the club. Playing at the moment as an attacking midfielder, practically a number "10", this position doesn't necessarily exist in the first team. Like Coutinho, the right-footed Peña has lined up and can play at left-wing, but unfortunately that's not his best position. The way that player and club continue to work through his development makes him one to watch whether he moves up to Juvenil A next season or stays with the Juvenil B for another season.