Clearly, given the current circumstances, we would all like to close our eyes and move on to the furore and festivities set out in Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby”. However, in view of the sordidness that surrounds us, it is essential to seek an alternative within ourselves that will guarantee our survival.
Well, that is precisely what most clubs are doing as they are hit by the current economic downturn. Regardless of their philosophy, the top clubs have youth teams in charge of developing young talent that can nurture the first team in the not too distant future.
However, not all clubs devote the same resources to this task or are able to squeeze the talent of these potential players. Aside from the prolific youth system of Ajax, the factory of Real Madrid, the Masia of Barcelona or the young eagles that fly over Da Luz (Benfica), there are other clubs where the talent abounds.
In England, beyond “The Class of ’92” (Scholes, Giggs, Beckham, etc), the academies of Southampton and West Ham stand out. Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana or Gareth Bale are examples of the former. The Hammers are not far behind, they have given wings to players like Frank Lampard, John Terry or Rio Ferdinand.
On the other side of the English Channel, Olympique de Lyon’s interior categories stand out. Footballers like Karim Benzema, Ludovic Giuly or Anthony Martial.
In Belgium, Anderlecht and Genk are shining brightly. Most of the members of its national team directed by Roberto Martinez have been born in these academies. Vincent Kompany, Dries Mertens or Romelu Lukaku took their first steps in Anderlecht. On the other hand, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne or Yannick Carrasco were promoted in Genk.
Just as Fitzgerald sees in his protagonist, in those teams there was “something magnificent, an exacerbated sensitivity to the promises of life, as if it were connected to one of those very complex machines that register earthquakes from ten thousand miles away.