Ten to watch in 2013/14 - 4. Gerard Deulofeu
Although it’s not the easiest name in the world to get your mind around, there will have been some embarrassed faces around Goodison Park when a shirt supposedly sporting the name of their Barcelona loan player was spotted as being misspelt.
I guess it may be that many of the uninitiated would not even have noticed the error. Deulofeu was hardly one of the Blaugrana’s leading lights last season, and with players such as Messi, Xavi and Inniesta grabbing the limelight, it’s no surprise that the 19 year old stayed relatively in the shadows. Roberto Martinez though was fully aware of the talented Deelofeu and when the chance came to take him on loan for a year, the Spaniard reacted quickly to secure the deal. Speaking earlier this month, The Guardian quotes Martinez as saying that "Gerard is a real diamond of Spanish football and a boy with incredible footballing talent and I am delighted that he has chosen to take the next step of his career with Everton."
Last season saw the youngster star in Barcelona’s B team. The team is forever locked into the purgatory of Spain’s second division as they cannot compete in the same league as the first team, but even at that level, he showed that he was a rare talent, netting 18 goals. Although he made only two brief first team appearances in that season and his opportunities for the new term would have been be limited by the arrival of players such as Neymar, the Blaugrana were not tardy in tying him into a new deal lasting until 2017.
He has been described as a creative forward, very much in the Barcelona style, and has been a star of the national age limited team, representing Spain all the way up from U16 to U21. He was also named as the player of the tournament in the recent U20 European championships.
Martinez is well in tune with the aspirations of the Spanish game, and it is probably a tribute to his approach to the game that the Catalans were prepared to loan out one of their future stars to the English game. Whilst there is of course no guarantee that success will follow for the player, it’s likely that by the end of the season, many more people will be able to spell his name correctly.
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