Emulating La Masia; 01. Setting Up Your Own Conveyor Belt Of Talent

Many of the worlds finest clubs have spent hundreds of millions of pounds/euro’s on transfer fees for the world’s best, most elite players in the hope of buying success. Chelsea, both Manchester clubs, PSG, Real, Barcelona, they tend to spend millions to bring in more stars to an already star-studded line-up. Ideally though, a club doesn’t need to rely on splashing the cash but should promote clubs from within, from the academy.

Barcelona used to have its own conveyor belt of talent in La Masia, its renowned youth academy. The harsh reality of the moment is that the Catalans’ academy is not producing young footballers of a good enough standard to walk tall in the first team right now. I feel sorry for any youngsters in the Juvenil A (U19) or Barca B teams that play in a forward, attacking role at present because there’s quite a few years left yet of the Messi-Neymar-Suarez trident and unless any one of the three suffers a catastrophic season-ending injury, no one is going to get a look in up front.

The fact is that there are plenty of graduates coming through but the conveyor belt is supplying Europe’s other clubs and not the team for which the players were developed. Perhaps it is the need for immediate and continued success that is driving the business model of the club in terms of its transfer policy at the moment.

That’s beyond the point I am trying to make though, as I want to focus on setting up such a conveyor belt of talent in Football Manager. If you want to look at a club structure which focusses on setting up a great youth academy system, which factors need to be considered, which steps should be undertaken and what the correct course of action is. (more…)