La Masia continues to produce talented players and Ángel Alarcon has recently caught the attention of the staff and Xavi. For several seasons, the striker has been considered one of the most promising players in the academy. In the meeting with Ceuta he might make his debut and first minutes at the highest level. What are Alarcon’s strengths and what can you expect from it?
This article was translated from here
Ángel Alarcon is a footballer belonging to a very talented generation born in 2004, which includes Gavi, Ilias Akhomach, Victor Barbera, Aleix Garrido and Alex Valle. The 18-year-old is having an excellent season in juvenil A. Tonight he may have the opportunity to show himself to a wider audience.
Career so far
Ángel Alarcon joined Barcelona in 2018 from Espanyol’s academy where he excelled at the prestigious MIC tournament and in the league. The Spaniard strengthened the cadete B team, in which he immediately became the leader and scored 22 goals in 26 league matches in his first season at the club, thus becoming the team’s top scorer. In the following season in the cadete A , he did not slow down and scored fifteen goals in eighteen appearances. Furthermore, he also scored four goals in the Kevin de Bruyne tournament that saw Barça win the title.
After a great campaign, many clubs sought his acquisition. But Ángel decided to extend his contract with the Catalan club and received direct promotion to juvenile A , thus skipping the stage of playing injuvenile B. In his first season with the U-19 team, the striker scored seven goals, made five assists and won five penalties. He then even made his reserve debut. But then things went the other way for him.
Alarcon suffered a serious knee injury in the Copa de Campeones semi-final at the end of that season. Alarcon was out for fourteen months, but his injury is now gone. He is one of the best players at La Masia this season and is working hard for his coveted debut.
Profile, position and playing style
Ángel is a player who can play anywhere in the front line. In the lower sections, he mostly played on the left wing, where he moved inside, could dribble from the touchline and entered the penalty area quite often. He’s a specialist in leaving defenders behind thanks to his excellent acceleration. It is his ability to accelerate in the first meters and balance that are the biggest advantages of Alarcon. Over time, the Spaniard has increasingly featured in the center of attack, showing that this position further enhances his strengths. Great movement between the lines, taking advantage of defenders’ mistakes and free spaces, very good off-ball play, the ability to move into position at the pace and read the game, made the Spaniard play in the number nine position regularly score goals. He is not a player who impresses with technique and dribbling, but with coordination,
He is a direct striker who tries to score at every opportunity and is able to create threats from anywhere in the penalty area. His strengths also include a strong shot from outside the area and work in defense. He plays decently with his back to goal, and his agility and mobility make him very hard to stop. Once he takes the ball, often the only way to stop him is to commit a foul. What deserves a mention is the skilful use of his conditions, which make him hard to push, and clashes with him end up with offenses committed on him (as you can see by the number of elevens won). An undoubted advantage is also finishing the action after shots from the first ball and the ability to finish attacks with both legs.
Off the ball movement
Alarcon is also creative. His off-the-ball movement and intelligence enable him to run behind defenders at the perfect moment, which, combined with his acceleration, is a lethal weapon not only on counter-attacks. He carried out rallies many times, during which he ran 30-50 meters and they ended with a foul committed on him or creating a dangerous situation. The Spaniard has a good and balanced cross, he can pass over the top and send flat passes, and he has many assists. Definitely, speed in making decisions, changes of pace and a good first contact with the ball only help with that. A striker with this profile is not seen very often in La Masia, although it makes him even more appreciated among coaches, for whom he has always been a first-class figure.
Ángel Alarcon is an exceptionally complete striker and there are not many weaknesses in his game. He is decisive, finishes actions very well, has an above-average final pass, can go deeper into the pitch, distribute actions and work in pressing. Considering his condition and height, he can certainly score more goals with his head. He used to miss in fairly simple situations in the earlier stages. But this has improved significantly in recent months.
The current campaign performed by Ángel deserves appreciation and recognition. The 18-year-old has returned from a 14-month knee injury but has been impressive from the start. There is no indication that the unlucky injury that eliminated him from participating in the preseason with the first team two years ago did not affect his acceleration or dynamics. In the YCL alone, he scored three goals and made the same number of assists. In total, this season, he has twelve goals, five assists and a penalty won, thus noting a goal share on average every 84 minutes, which translates into a direct share of 36% of goals scored by juvenil A .
In the second part of the season, we can expect Ángel to get more reserve minutes. For some time, the striker has shown that his skills surpass the U-19 team and he is ready to play at a higher level. Physical and on-field intelligence will only make it easier for him to adapt to Rafa Márquez’s team, which will need goals and attacking support. The key issue, however, remains his contract, which expires at the end of June. At the moment, there is not much information about it and it is only clear that Barcelona intend to negotiate a new contract with Ángel.
Again, the biggest clubs will compete to sign Alarcon and Barcelona will face the challenge of convincing the Spaniard to stay at the club by offering him a promising sporting project. The first step towards that could be his Copa del Rey debut against Ceuta today, which will show that the striker is trusted, his talent is valued and his rapid development has been noticed by the staff.