Barcelona are keeping tabs on Manchester City’s academy sensation Ashley Smith-Brown, and the Daily Mirror report the Catalan giants are ready to offer the 16-year-old a place at their prestigious La Masia academy.
They also report Arsenal and Chelsea are keeping a close eye on the teenagers situation after he impressed all parties during his England u-16 and u-17 appearances. His ability and work rate is what caught the eye of some of footballs biggest clubs and the fact he can play both right and left side was an added incentive.
You have to believe the only thing which may keep the player from joining La Masia – an academy which has nurtured talents such as Xavi, Iniesta and the worlds best Lionel Messi – would be the immigrating factor. If the player does not feel comfortable leaving his family and country of birth at such a young age then Arsenal and Chelsea could pounce.
Although City are obviously a club on the up, one has to wonder as to whether their academy players may suffer from the clubs large investment. With City having to challenge for titles and trophies will they really take the time to nurture and bed in a young prospect when they could easily buy a young prospect where all the hard work has already been done?
Most top clubs in England seem to want to fast track the development process and would rather buy a finished article than nurture a home grown talent. The appeal of La Masia, who have a proven record of developing players through all of Barcelona’s infrastructure and into the first team is surely an opportunity to good the pass up.
Maybe a move for a future England international to undoubtedly the best academy in world football would benefit both player and country. Maybe in the future we could have a few English players will continental flair.
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