Assuming you’re Spanish, you’ll need to drop the perfect English if you want to stick around here and fit in. ‘Would of’ instead of ‘would have’ is particularly important, and please ensure apostrophes are used entirely randomly.Hello everyone, Barca fan here.
First off I have to say I didn't follow Premier League too much in recent years but really enjoyed watching your team last season under De Zerbi (already watched his Sassuolo team a few times when he coached in Serie A) . You clearly became my favorite/must watch PL team and this season I'll have another reason to follow you even closer.
Then I've watched an interview with your CEO Paul Barber a few months ago and got really impressed with how well your club is organized. Wasn't really surprised about that because results of good work are evident but still learned new things and how important the leadership is from the top to the bottom. And I'll say that a lot of teams could learn from you, including Barca.
You can have great players but if decision makers at the club are not good you will only get worse in time. Which is what happened to Barca. We are where we are because our former president made a lot of bad decisions, throwing hundreds of millions away on wrong players and renewing an aging old core (club legends like Alba, Busquets, Pique, Suarez and including Messi - though he was the only one still carrying the club and his "amigos" (friends) as fans were calling them on his shoulders until the day he had to leave) to longterm expensive contracts which we are still paying consequences now. Ofc the whole corona thing and losing reportedly 300-400m of planned revenues didn't help us and neither do very strict FFP rules in La Liga (most clubs except Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao - they only use Basque players so don't make much signings anyway - have problems signing and registering new players) but ex president Bartomeu is clearly the most responsible for the situation we're in.
Anyway, let's go to the reason I've decided to join this board after reading it for the last two days. Barca fans have dividing opinions about Ansu. Most were ready to give up on him after two years of injuries and also thought inheriting #10 shirt after Messi was too big of a burden for him. Which is right to some extent and we should've probably left #10 unoccupied for a few years (although it's hard to do that in La Liga where first team players are only allowed to wear shirt numbers between 1-25) but at the same time after Messi left in 2021 club/fans needed a new hope/star and Ansu was the most likely player to become that although he missed almost a full year of football at that point already with a meniscus injury while someone like Pedri got fully established in the team in his first season being only 17 so he could've been a candidate for that #10 shirt as well (OTOH I think it's great he got #8 previously worn by his idol Iniesta though). And to confirm that commitment to Ansu a new (well, in his second stint) president Laporta also gave him a new contract in October 2021. But Ansu again struggled to stay fit in 21/22 season.
It was only last season when he could finally stay injury free. Xavi wanted to bring him back to fitness slowly so he mostly got minutes off the bench. Has clearly lost his step and become slower. (He was never a speed demon like Dembele for example who kept his explosivness despite being constantly injured - I know muscle and knee injuries are different - in his 6 years at the club but I'd say Ansu before injuries had quite decent speed). But he looked much more comfortable with his own body so probably felt no pain anymore and also got rid of that "mental block" (in other words, fear of re-injury which is normal after being sidelined for almost two full years) at the end of last season and during preseason.
Two years of injuries have not only done damage to his body but also to his development at the time when most young players need to play regularly (ideally at whichever level they're ready for at that moment). So in football development terms he's still a 17/18 year old kid despite turning 21 next month
Now ofc his trajectory is also different to that of most players who don't establish themselves in their first teams at only 16/17 although Barca fans are quite used to that in last few years. It started with Ansu and then followed with Pedri, Gavi and now Lamine Yamal is also making a breakthrough. But most fans (we are one of the most impatient fan bases tbh) have also lost perception of how young all these players really are. They were thrown into the water too soon because of our financial state and most got chances because we've had injuries. And then they ofc showed enough to stay around. But we've also paid price for that, especially with Ansu and Pedri is now also constantly dealing with muscle injuries because he has played like 70 games between Barca and Spain NT as a 17-18 year old kid. In normal circumstances we shouldn't be doing that but we did.
I didn't want to sell Ansu as I still believe he has good potential (his ceilling is ofc lower than before injuries). For me most important last season was that he stayed injury free which he did. I've seen this season as his make or break it in Barca but would be hard to get regular minutes as Xavi didn't really trust him much and we've also changed system midway through last season and are using four midfielder setup more often. First it was meant to accomodate aging Busquets whose legs were gone (but Xavi loved his amigo) and provide additional cover in midfield but even now with Busi leaving for Miami Xavi insists on this formation. So even with Dembele leaving we'd have players like Raphinha, Ferran, Abde (he might leave today though) and a younster Yamal competing for one spot alongside Lewandowski (he doesn't deserve to be a starter based on his performances so far this season but is undroppable for Xavi).
Another reason Barca wanted to offload Ansu were his pretty high wages. We need to create space if we want to get Cancelo on loan (not a big fan of him but after a very poor performing of Sergi Roberto against Villarreal we need a new RB; also reports we will go after Joao Felix but don't see it happening). Would prefer Ansu to stay in Spain as I'm a bit worryed PL could be too physically demanding for him at this point but no La Liga club outside of RM (clearly won't loan him to our rivals) can't cover even half of his salary imo. Would be ok with him going to Tottenham as well as they're playing good football under Postecoglu but I'm happy he decided for Brighton.
I won't say take good care of our boy because I believe RDZ will get the most out of him. Hopefully he has good, injury free season and can return next year ready to prove his doubters amongst Barca fans wrong.
Thanks for the update