If reports coming out of Man City regarding their interest in Barca's brightest young talent are to be believed, then the Premier League champions will have a real gem on their hands. talkSPORT's Transfer Spotlight has more on Gerard Deulofeu, the pearl of Barca's B team.
Name: Gerard Deulofeu i Lazaro
Date of birth: 13 March 1994
Birthplace: Riudarenes, Catalonia, Spain
International appearances: Capped at Spain U19 and U21 level
Honours: European U19 Championship (x2)
What's the latest?
Gerard Deulofeu became something of a cult hero among Barcelona supporters last season, after the winger terrified defenders in his breakthrough year for Barca B, finishing as his team's top scorer. The Catalan followed that up with a starring role in Spain's U19 European Championship win in Estonia in July 2012, notching up three goals and three assists in the tournament. Despite this, Barca boss Tito Vilanova insisted Deulofeu stay with the B team for another season, and though he has made sporadic appearances with the senior side, the manager has insinuated in recent press conferences that he has reservations over the youngster's attitude. However, his eight goals in 11 Second Division appearances this season have been enough to spark interest from England and reports claim Man City are ready to try and tempt the winger by offering to double his current salary.
Did you know?
1) Gerard Deulofeu has spent his entire career at Barcelona, arriving at the Catalan club aged nine.
2) Since joining the club's academy in 2003, Deulofeu has been promoted every year until he became a member of the Barca B team in 2011. This year proved to be the exception to the rule, with Vilanova deciding that Deulofeu should instead stay with the B team for a further year, albeit with the opportunity to make sporadic appearances for the senior side and is likely to feature against Benfica in the Champions League.
3) The winger was part of Barcelona's treble-winning Juvenil A (youth) team in 2011, claiming the Copa del Rey, Champions Cup and league title.
4) In keeping with his rapid progression at youth level, Deulofeu made his Barcelona first team debut on October 2011 against Mallorca, and has made four appearances with the senior side in all competitions to date. Only one of those appearances has been in La Liga, however. He recently made a cameo appearance in a Copa del Rey tie against third division side Alaves, despite calls for him to start the game.
5) Deulofeu won back-to-back European U19 Championships with Spain in 2011 and 2012, winning a place in the Team of the Tournament in the 2012 edition. He made his Spain U21 debut in 2012, and has registered two goals in four appearances with the side this year.
What is being said?
"Deulofeu had a great season last year, and this year too. He's a great player, but he has to improve some things to play with the first team. He's spectacular, but football is much more than producing two moments of flair in a game. Just because in recent years a lot of youngsters have succeeded [here] doesn't mean anyone can get to the first team. In order for another new player to come in you always have to find room for him, and Deulofeu has a lot of talent, but we have to continue demanding improvement from him.”
- Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova on Deulofeu
“He's already demonstrating his ability, but he has to continue on the right path, have both feet on the ground and work hard, with humility.”
- Barca keeper Jose Manuel Pinto on Deulofeu
Check out this compilation of some of Deulofeu's best moments from last season...
Should Man City capitalise on Tito Vilanova's hesitance and try to sign Gerard Deulofeu?