Koeman Prefers Barcelona Teen To Riqui Puig: Report

Riqui Puig

Getty Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig in pre-season action

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has reportedly been impressed by 16-year-old midfielder Gavi in pre-season training and sees the youngster as behing ahead of Riqui Puig in the pecking order at the Camp Nou.

Gavi is one of several youngsters to have joined the first-team squad for pre-season training and has featured in the Catalan giants’ two friendly wins over Nastic and Girona.

Journalist Gerard Romero has reported that Gavi’s performances have pushed him ahead of Puig, while Koeman has also congratulated president Joan Laporta on signing 18-year-old Yusuf Demir this summer, according to reporter Pol Alonso.

Demir has arrived on a season-long loan with a purchase option set at €10 million ($11.8m) and has already caught the eye of Koeman. The Dutch coach is said to be “in love” with the youngster and thinks he can go on and have a similar impact to Pedri at the club.

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Barcelona Fans Enjoy Gavi Displays

Barcelona fans have certainly been enjoying seeing Gavi in the first team and have been happy to highlight just what a prospect the youngster is by sharing clips of his best moments on social media.

Gavi’s former coach at Barcelona, Franc Artiga, has spoken to Goal about what make the young star so special and sets him apart from the competition.

“He is so technically gifted,” he said. “He is capable of changing a what he is about to do in tenths of a second, and improvising under any circumstance of the game. It is very difficult to find a player with these abilities, and with this speed of execution.”

The teenager is expected to spend the season with Barcelona B where he will be able to enjoy regular game time away from the spotlight of the first team. If the teenager can impress with the reserves then he could be offered valuable first-team minutes.

Gavi could then follow in the foosteps of Barca B players Ilaix Moriba and Oscar Mingueza who both impressed Koeman last season enough to secure regular game time in the first team. The duo are expected to be promoted to the senior squad for the new campaign.

Barca Kids Show Future Is Bright

Gavi is one of several exciting youngsters at the Camp Nou currently. Fellow midfielder Nico Gonzalez has also shone in pre-season and is being tipped as a potential long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets.

Barca has already moved to secure Nico’s long-term future. The midfielder signed a contract that runs until 2024 back in May. The deal includes a buyout clause set at an eye-watering 500 million.

Barcelona B captain Alex Collado has also caught the eye. The midfielder has already admitted he wants to be part of the first-team setup next season. He told Mundo Deportivo, “I am going to work to the maximum to have minutes in the first team. I will not return to Barça B. The intention is to continue working and stay at Barça. Nothing can be ruled out, but the intention is to be in the first team.”

Left-back Alejandro Balde has also showcased his talents during pre-season and has also committed his future to the Catalan giants. The 18-year-old has signed a deal that is designed to keep him at the Camp Nou until 2024.

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