Jordi Cruyff believes Everton have achieved a major coup in signing Barcelona’s Gerard Deulofeu on loan for the coming season.
The 19-year-old attacker chose to link up with Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park, a move which Cruyff believes is a major sign of Barcelona’s trust in the club.
After 18 goals in 33 games for Barca’s B team last term, Deulofeu was linked with a host of high-ranking clubs and Cruyff, who played at Camp Nou in his career, has tipped him to be a future star.
“It’s a hell of a move. He was very sought after by clubs such as Borussia Dortmund and Valencia,” the 39-year-old told The Liverpool Echo.
“Barcelona are not usually eager to loan out players, especially not their biggest talents because they want to keep them close and playing the Barcelona way.
“They don’t want other styles to affect their progress. The fact they put him in Roberto’s hands means they trust him and think he will fit in with their style of play.
“You must understand he is one of the better talents at Barcelona and in La Liga. I would say I was proud for Roberto that Everton got him but, honestly, also a bit surprised.”
Cruyff also feels the youngster will benefit from the physical challenge of the English top flight, in much the same way that fellow Spaniards and Barcelona team-mates Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique did while at Arsenal and Manchester United respectively.
“Both Fabregas and Pique of course were products of La Masia (Barcelona’s academy) but came to England to develop and returned stronger, more experienced players,” Cruyff continued.
“They each adapted to the physicality of the Premier League. That is what they will want for Deulofeu.”
Deulofeu was part of Spain’s recent Under-20 World Cup side that reached the quarter-finals before losing to Uruguay.