The debate over the participation of academy players in the Barcelona first team has been reopened in recent days. The reason for this has been the signing of Jeison Murillo. There are many who don’t understand why the club went to the market to find a fourth-choice centre-back instead of turning to La Masia. Chumi and Jorge Cuenca have both debuted with Ernesto Valverde this season, but the coach has gone for the comfort of an experienced player at the moment of truth.
It’s true that Murillo is something of an expert. He is 26 and comes from Valencia, even if it’s true that he hasn’t played much for Los Che this season, which is another argument for those in favour of promoting academy players to make. Murillo is an international player with Colombia, although he is a backup to Yerry Mina, who Valverde dismissed shortly after the player arrived. That’s another point that doesn’t help.
This is why technical secretary Eric Abidal was asked for the reasons behind the club’s decision not to use the academy on this occasion. And Abidal was clear. He insisted that the club’s policy hadn’t changed and that the Blaugrana will continue to promote youth graduates. This, though, is a time to compete, he said. He then added one important comment. “The coach is in command here,” he told reporters.
It’s hard to believe that Valverde is in charge of these matters. If he were then Barcelona would have signed a left-back in the summer and Paulinho would still be at the club. However, Abidal has stated that, at least on this occasion, the former Athletic Club coach made the call.
You don’t need to be a genius to see that Murillo was a request of the coach. As such, he’ll be responsible for the defender’s performance. If this wasn’t the case then Abidal would have said something about this being a joint decision from the coach and the director. In this case, the pointing to one specific person stands out.
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