‘We Are Not Interested:’ Club Rule Out Move for Barcelona Star

Riqui Puig

Getty Riqui Puig celebrate scoring against Osasuna.

Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig is expected to depart the Camp Nou this summer as he is not in coach Xavi’s plans for the 2022-23 campaign but will not be going to Serie A side Fiorentina.

The club’s sporting director, Daniel Prade, told a news conference on Tuesday, July 5 that Fiorentina are not interested in the 22-year-old despite speculation to the contrary, as reported by Fabrizio Romano.

“We are not interested in Riqui Puig, he’s never been in our list. We wanted to sign Grillitsch but then we had some problems,” he said. “We’re in negotiations for Jović from Real Madrid, we hope to close the deal soon – and Dodô from Shakhtar.”

Diario Sport had reported that Fiorentina had been in “advanced negotiations” with Barcelona for Puig but appear to be wide of the mark. Valencia, Celta Vigo, Real Betis, and Benfica have previously been linked with a move for the midfielder.

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Benfica To Give Up on Puig?

Puig’s preferred destination this summer is thought to be Portuguese side Benfica, according to Relevo. However, Benfica are currently being linked with other targets which means Puig could miss out.

Manager Nélson Veríssimo is thought to be an admirer of Real Madrid midfielder Reinier Jesus too. Negotiations are ongoing between the two clubs and, if successful, could scupper Puig’s chances of a summer switch, as reported by Sport.

Puig knows he will need to move to avoid another season on the bench at Barcelona. The midfielder managed just 483 minutes of first-team football in 2021-22 and only two starts.

The popular youngster has long made it clear that it’s his dream to succeed at Barcelona but simply hasn’t managed to convince a series of managers, including Ernest Valverde, Ronald Koeman, Quique Setien and now Xavi, that he deserves a regular place in the team.

Riqui Puig Makes Surprise Appearance

Puig did make a surprise appearance at pre-season training on Monday, July 4 as Barcelona players returned to work at the Ciutat Esportiva after their summer break. Xavi had reportedly given permission for several players, including Puig, to miss the start of pre-season but the midfielder showed up anyway.

Puig may still leave Barcelona on loan this summer and if he does it’s possible the Catalans could extend his contract first, according to Sport. The youngster’s deal expires in 2023 and Barca don’t want him to become a free agent when his deal ends.

The midfielder still sees his long-term future at Barcelona but knows that he may need to prove himself at another club next season, particularly given the competition for places at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona have just announced the arrival of midfielder Franck Kessie on a free transfer, and the Ivorian joins Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Gavi, Pedri, and Nico Gonzalez in the first team squad.

Nico is another player who could be on the move in order to enjoy regular minutes in 2022-23, according to Mundo Deportivo. The 22-year-old is “seriously considering” a loan switch as he does not want play a bit-part role in the new campaign.

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