Fermín Lopez has exploded into the Barcelona first team. His last two games against Mallorca and Sevilla have had a great impact. The Spanish national youth team officials have been following him for some time and now it looks like they will take the step of calling him up.
Fermín, at the age of 20, has never been capped for Spain. Unlike players such as Lamine Yamal, Gavi or Balde, Fermín had gone unnoticed. His burst onto the scene has been later than that of his teammates.
The change came with his loan spell at Linares in Primera Federación, where he scored 12 goals, and his great pre-season with FC Barcelona. Fermín is now fully in the first team dynamic and has taken advantage of the gap left in the midfield by the departures of Pedri and De Jong.
The Federation has included him in the list of players for the next call-up to the U21 squad, SPORT have learned. Santi Denia will provide this Friday the list for the friendly in Uzbekistan (13/10) and the duel in Kazakhstan (17/10) qualifying for the European Championship 2025 in the October window.
Candidate for Paris 2024
The coach will decide this week, but given his performance, Fermín is a clear candidate to be part of the final list. If he makes the squad and gets minutes, it would be his international debut at any level.
Fermín was born in 2003 and is also eligible for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, where players born on or after 1 January 2001 can be called up. Of the European U21 runners-up who earned their ticket to the Games, 14 of them are ineligible due to age, so the group will be heavily reshuffled. Fermín is one of the players hoping to play in Paris.
It should be remembered that in the men's category, FIFA only allows three players over the age of 23 to reinforce their national teams. All of this will also depend on his development, and reaching and consolidating his place in the U21s would also bring him closer to Luis de la Fuente's senior side, who has shown that he has no qualms about trusting youngsters.
U21s, the natural step
In any case, it is still too early to talk about the senior team and the natural step is that he will first play with the U21s. In this way, Barça would once again have a representative in the 'Rojita', which has been without a Barça player since Arnau Tenas.
Another reason for the absence of Barça players is because the best Barça U21 players are already in the senior team, such as Gavi, Balde and Lamine Yamal. It seems difficult for these youngsters to combine the 2024 European Championship, whose qualification is on track for Spain, with the Olympic Games after the experience of Tokyo 2021, where some players who did both had physical problems afterwards, as was the case of Pedri.
Fermín must first earn his place in the U21 squad. In the senior team, De la Fuente's midfield is very consolidated with players like Rodri, Zubimendi, Gavi, Mikel Merino and Fabián, who won the UEFA Nations League. They were joined by Baena in the last window and Ceballos could return at any time. The injured Pedri is also yet to return.
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