Why 2015/16 Is the Season Alejandro 'Alex' Grimaldo Will Break out at Barcelona

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IAugust 8, 2015

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Barcelona have a very good reason for promoting Alejandro "Alex" Grimaldo to the first team.

Per Mundo Deportivo (h/t Weloba), Adriano Correia could be on the verge of joining AS Roma, Barca's opponents in this year's Gamper Trophy.

The record-breaking Barca B youngster is finally coming of age, and unlike players such as Alen Halilovic and Adama Traore, the Catalans haven't countenanced a loan deal or otherwise for the player.

The likelihood is that the composed and assured left-back will make the step up to the senior team this season, predominantly as back-up to Jordi Alba.

Grimaldo has already had a brief taste of first-team action in last season's Super Copa de Catalunya, per Lee Roden of ESPN FC. While a more permanent tenure at the top level will present its challenges, the youngster is more than up to the task.

And those expecting Alba Mark II will be sorely mistaken. Grimaldo doesn't possess the speed and energy of his contemporary, but that's not to say that Barca will be weakened with him in the side; far from it.

Grimaldo has superb positional sense.
Grimaldo has superb positional sense.VI-Images/Getty Images

He will get forward and support the attack as necessary but perhaps not with quite the same wanton abandon as Alba.

Adept defensively and with superb positional sense, Grimaldo is less a risk-taker and more a diligent craftsman.

When he made his debut as the youngest-ever player in the Segunda Division at 15 years and 349 days, it was abundantly clear this was an old, mature head on young shoulders, and the question was when, not if, he was going to make the step up to the first XI.

Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu can also fill in at left-back if required.
Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu can also fill in at left-back if required.David Ramos/Getty Images

With so much negative press surrounding Barca's supposed abandonment of their La Masia model in favour of high-profile acquisitions, Grimaldo's promotion should soothe the angst of those convinced that he would be another to provide his services elsewhere.

While he might not get as much game time as he would like in this breakout season because Luis Enrique can still call upon both Thomas Vermaelen and Jeremy Mathieu to do a job there, Grimaldo should still be an active part of the senior setup.

It would be a criminal waste of talent to keep him involved in a Barca B side that find themselves in the lower reaches of the Spanish football pyramid, and it just so happens that Adriano's potential sale opens up a nice little window of opportunity for a player who deserves his crack at the big time and at the club where he has honed his craft.

One can only stay as an apprentice for so long.

The same can be said for the likes of Sergi Samper, of course. However, with Sergio Busquets showing no sign of weakness at this point, and Javier Mascherano ready to step into the breach if necessary, for all of his talent, Samper isn't likely to be afforded a run in the side at any point soon.

That's a shame for players of his ilk who have perhaps mapped out a pathway to the first team, only to find doors closing on first-team action rather than being held open for the next generation of Masia graduates.

Perhaps in future, consideration needs to be given to the recruitment policy of the reserve setup given that so many youngsters have had to be farmed out in the recent past.

Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu are two from last season who can be added to an ever-growing list. Rafinha and Sergi Roberto could end up being two more.

Too many more could well have a huge bearing on the future of the academy and wider implications for the club.

Despite a serious knee injury that might be a longer-term concern, Grimaldo has shown no ill-effects and there hasn't been a drop-off in quality to his all-round game.

He deserves his chance, and it's all about being in the right place at the right time when the opportunity arises.

Grimaldo is well-positioned.

It's time.