Why Juan Larios could be a real gem for Man City in the years to come

According to the Daily Record (h/t Daily Mail), Man City have successfully beaten off competition from Premier League rivals Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the race to sign Barcelona prodigy Juan Larios. 

The 15-year-old left-back will move to the north-west of England to continue his development under ex-Barca boss Pep Guardiola next month after he turns 16, abiding by EU Freedom of Movement laws. (Daily Record h/t Daily Mail)

As per the report, Man City will pay Barcelona a small compensation fee of €400,000 for the teenage left-back, who has decided to leave La Masia in search of a quicker route to first-team football in the coming years. 

The report also adds that the presence of a large number of Spaniards both in City’s playing ranks and coaching staff played a key role in convincing the player to move to the Etihad. 

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Man City have reached an agreement with Barcelona to complete a move for Juan Larios (Getty Images)

Born in Tomares, Spain, Larios initially started his footballing education at Sevilla before joining Barcelona’s youth ranks back in the summer of 2016. The left-back’s impressive progress saw him promoted to Barca’s U-17 squad prior to the start of the 2019-20 season while he also made his mark for Spain at the U-15 level.

However, Larios has now opted to further his development in English football, with Man City eventually coming out on top in the race to sign the highly-rated defender following some stiff resistance from other Premier League clubs.

Meanwhile, Man City have put a lot of emphasis on their youth recruitment drive in recent years in a bid to build a strong platform for the future. Besides utilizing their financial muscle to bring in some top-quality professionals from across the globe, the Citizens have also shown plenty of interest in scouring the continent for burgeoning young talents to increase competition for places in their youth ranks.

The likes of Ryotaro Meshino, Pedro Porro, Liam Delap and Morgan Rogers all came through the door at City this past summer as highly-rated prospects and the reigning Premier League champions have now bagged another scalp with the signing of Larios.

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Larios has already drawn comparisons with Spanish veteran Jordi Alba (Getty Images)

To put things into perspective, Juan Larios is still very much in his formative years as a footballer, and while he doesn’t fit the bill of an immediate game-changer at the Etihad, City could well have a gem on their hands in the years to come should he go on to fulfill his potential.

The fact that so many Premier League clubs had been vying for his signature clearly indicates that there is something really special about Larios, who was held in such high regard by the coaching staff at Barcelona.

Larios will need to prove his worth at U-18 and U-23 levels before staking a claim for a first-team role at City, and while he still has plenty of stages left in his development curve, the 15-year-old certainly fits the bill as one for the future.

Verdict

The Citizens already have the highly-rated Tyreke Wilson as a regular fixture at left-back in the U-23s while Josh Wilson-Esbrand has made that role his own for the U-18 side in the U-18 Premier League this term. 

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Credits: Getty Images

Hence, Larios will have to fight it out with some of the existing starlets in City’s youth ranks in order to make an impression, but given his talent and potential, the Citizens have every reason to hope that the Spaniard will pass the test with flying colours.

The rise of academy graduate Phil Foden continues to be a piece of inspiration for all up and coming prospects in City’s ranks while Guardiola has also shown a lot of faith in the teenage centre-back pairing of Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Eric Garcia in the EFL Cup fixtures.

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All in all, Man City have sent a strong message to their PL rivals with the signing of Juan Larios that they are continuing to lay the seeds for several more years of dominance in English football.