Barcelona are famed for producing world class youngsters. Many, such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Victor Valdes, gradually move from the reserve teams to the first team at some point in their early twenties. But there are plenty full of promising starlets who feel they don't get the game time they need as a young player, and make the difficult decision to leave.
This is a decision that doesn't always work out. For every Cesc Fabregas there is a Giovani Dos Santos.
Recent Liverpool signing Luis Alberto is the last player to have moved to these shores having turned out for the Barca B team, albeit on loan from Sevilla, and the 21-year-old is currently struggling to break into the Anfield club's first team.
Gifted Barcelona playmaker Sergio Roberto may be the next to fly the Camp Nou nest, having progressed from their youth teams with some aplomb, only to see his progress stall at the prospect of breaking into one of the strongest midfields in football.
Recent reports have again linked the player to the Premier League, with both Tottenham and Liverpool being heavily credited with interest. Barcelona are said to be reluctant to sell, and any team may have to meet the youngster's €20m release clause. The Daily Star reports that AC Milan are also interested in the midfielder, but may baulk at the price tag.
But what would be the best option for Roberto?
Both Tottenham and Liverpool are happy to invest in players with potential, especially those that can fit into the passing and possession mentality of each side as both sit in the Premier League's top four.
Tottenham in particular already have a raft of top quality central midfielders, and with Christian Eriksen battling to claim a permanent first team spot, as well as the highly thought of Tom Carroll on the cusp of the squad, the Spaniard may struggle for his much desired game time. The failure of previous Barcelona graduate Giovani Dos Santos to fulfil his obvious potential at White Hart Lane may also play a factor.
Liverpool may be a better option. With less competition for places in the middle of the park, and a history of Spanish success stories, Roberto may see an easier route to the match day squad. However, seeing his teammate from last year Alberto flatter to deceive in his quest for first team football may cause the Barcelona man to have second thoughts.
If Milan, currently in the middle of a rebuilding process, could scrape the cash together, a move to Italy could be the most attractive option for the midfielder, despite few Spanish players having taken that option historically.
The best option may be for him to bide his time where he is, at least until the end of the season, and hope he gets some minutes in the cup competitions. If Barca agree to sell in the summer for a reduced fee then it is likely he will have a whole host of suitors, both home and abroad.
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