For a club who pride themselves on bringing youngsters through their academy, development has stunted of late at Barcelona.
Youngsters like Marc Barta, Alen Halilovic, Munir El Haddadi, Sandro Ramirez and Jordi Mboula have all left the club in search of first-team football elsewhere.
Now there are fears 19-year-old midfielder Carles Alena, arguably the standout young player at the club, will be the latest to fall off La Masia’s conveyor belt.
Alena, who is said to be the subject of interest from Newcastle as Rafael Benitez prepares a side for the Premier League, could leave for next to nothing this summer.
The Spain Under-19 international’s contract expires on 30 June 2018 but as of yet there has been no news surrounding a new deal.
His release clause of €3million won’t put off suitors across Europe, although they’ll have to move quick.
That release clause is only in place up to 1 July, at which point it will rise to €12mil.
Still, in the current transfer climate €12m is unlikely to be a stumbling block for any side serious about signing Alena.
Alena has already played for Barcelona’s first-team, scoring on his debut in a Copa del Rey game against Hercules last November.
It’s a right of passage to be named the ‘next …’ when coming through Barcelona’s academy, something Alena is all too aware of.
The youngster’s playing style and ability to ghost past players from midfield has seen him likened to Andres Iniesta. No pressure there then.
One major factor Barcelona do have in their favour is Alena’s agent- club legend Carles Puyol.
The Barcelona hierarchy will be hoping Puyol can have a word with Alena and get him to commit his future to the club.
Although, judging by those that have left Barcelona, the grass is always greener on the other side.