PROSPECT | Pedri – Barcelona’s young midfield maestro

Pedri González is currently in his final season at Las Palmas, before joining his new club FC Barcelona in July. Pedro González López, simply known as Pedri has the football world at his feet.

The 17-year-old playmaker is lighting up the Segunda División for Pepe Mel’s side. In February, the former West Bromwich Albion head coach said: “Pedri reminds me of Andrés Iniesta.” It would be hard to find a bigger compliment in Spanish football.

At 16 years, eight months and 24 days, he became the second-youngest player to play an official game for Las Palmas. Standing at 5’7, a typical height for Spanish midfield dynamos and playmakers of recent times; Xavi, Iniesta, Gaizka Mendieta and David Silva, all technically gifted players and all under 5’9.

Pedri possesses a low centre of gravity with the ability to keep the ball under close control and get out of tight situations, always looking to go forward. An excellent passer off both feet, he has the ability to drop deep and start moves via long-range passes or mazy runs.

Currently the most expensive player in Segunda, Spain’s second tier, he is valued at €8m, according to Transfermarkt. This fee is more than some of the top players in the division, including Luis Suárez (Real Zaragoza) at €4.5m, Christian Stuani (Girona) at €5m and Francisco Montero (Deportivo) at €7.5m.

The highly-rated prospect is a Spain U19 international. It has been reported by Catalan media that Dutch giants Ajax are currently monitoring his situation, with the possibility of agreeing a loan move with Barça for the 2020-21 season. The Johan Cruyff school of excellence could only help further his development and prepare him for many years at the top.

In the current campaign, Pedri has been available 26 times for Las Palmas, with trips made from the Canary Islands to represent his country at U17, U18 and U19 level throughout the season. Each time he has been available, he has started, slotting into a midfield role he has made his own.

From 26 appearances this season, he has scored three goals and made four assists for the Gran Canarian outfit. A steady return for a kid still just 17 years old. In February, he made his debut for Spain U19s – at just 17 years and three months old.

The form shown in recent months sees him ranked twelfth on the list of hottest prospects in the world, born in 2002. On the list of Spaniards born in 2002, he’s currently second, behind Barcelona’s Ansu Fati, who is worth €40m and is just three weeks his senior.

The future looks bright for Pedri, albeit not in the bright yellow of Las Palmas. He will complete his move to Barcelona in the summer and is expected to be loaned abroad for the 2020-21 campaign to further his footballing education.

On 2 September 2019, Barcelona reached an agreement with Las Palmas for his signature, which is effective from 1 July. He agreed to a three-year contract with the Blaugrana, in a deal worth €5m. It’s a dream move for the teenager. In an interview with Catalan sports daily Sport, he revealed: “Barcelona has always been my and my family’s team.”

Barcelona have been trying to replace Andrés Iniesta since he left for Japan in May 2018, perhaps in Pedri, they have their next Iniesta.

Kieran Quaile

More European Football News