Barcelona: Why Winger Gerard Deulofeu Will Not Succeed in the Premier League

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Barcelona: Why Winger Gerard Deulofeu Will Not Succeed in the Premier League
Gerard Deulofeu will struggle to adapt in the Premier League

There are signs of a worrying trend developing at Barcelona.

Where once the standout players in Barca's youth and reserve ranks would find themselves fast-tracked into the first-team set up, now those promising La Masia graduates are having to move elsewhere to enjoy regular match time.

The consistently high level of the likes of Messi, Iniesta et al. make it a much easier decision for the technical staff to ignore the next generation of stars, though this school of thought goes against the grain for many Barca fans.

When players reach Barca B level—the club's reserve team—there is a real sense that their coveted first-team debuts and continued presence in the higher echelons might be just around the corner.

If we cast an eye over Pep Guardiola's reign, his all-conquering Barca sides were peppered with La Masia youth. Think Pedro Rodriguez and Sergio Busquets to name just two.

Gerard Deulofeu is the next star to emerge from the Catalan conveyor belt.

It’s been fairly obvious to anyone who has followed the Liga Adelante—where Deulofeu has honed his craft to this point—that here is a player who is simply too good for the league in which he plays.

His performances for Barca B and the Spanish national youth teams have brought him to a wider audience.

While he does not have the electric pace of Cristian Tello, nor the work rate of Alexis Sanchez— arguably the two players with whom he would be vying for a spot in Barca's first team—what he does possess is a genuine creativity and inventiveness not normally associated with players of his age.

He can and does score and create goals from nothing and is exciting and unpredictable. His virtuosity was the hallmark of many of Barca B's games last season. 

To suggest that Deulofeu was the talisman is to state the obvious, which begs the question as to why his accelerated development seems to have come to a grinding halt.

Tito Vilanova's reluctance to give the youngster an extended run in the first team, at the expense of arguably less-skillful players, speaks volumes.

With nowhere else for Deulofeu to go at Barca in a professional sense, until he makes the grade at the first-team level, the only realistic option for his continued development is a move away.

It is for that reason that a loan move to the Premier League draws ever closer.  

Should it happen, then he's nailed on to be an instant success, isn't he?

Well not exactly...

With the greatest of respect, the Liga Adelante isn't the Premier League.

The calibre of defender that Deulofeu will match up against week-in and week-out will be of a far higher standard than that which he is used to.

He must first understand that every weaving run must have an end product.

Beating three or four men—sometimes more than once—is impotent in an attacking sense if either the player does not score himself or play the simple pass to a teammate better placed.

Even Albert Einstein once remarked, "Simplicity is the purest form of genius," and it's an adage that Deulofeu would do well to heed.

Decision-making is Deulofeu's biggest weakness and will be precisely what stops this young man from becoming a much more polished performer.

That this detail of his game has not been sufficiently adapted already is a cause for concern, and we must remember that Deulofeu remains at this juncture, essentially, a reserve-team player.

The exuberance and need to dazzle and titillate at every opportunity has to be reigned in because he simply won't be able to get away with it in the Premier League.

The pace and power is likely to prove to be a huge wake-up call, and the potential loss of confidence through under-par performances against some of the world's best defenders benefits no one.

This is a potential move that has come too early in the player's career and it could backfire on Barcelona, who may have another Bojan Krkic or Isaac Cuenca situation on their hands in 12 months' time.

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