Laporta Offers Update on Riqui Puig’s Barcelona Future

Joan Laporta and Riqui Puig

Getty Barcelona president Joan Laporta and midfielder Riqui Puig

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has offered an update on midfielder Riqui Puig’s future at the club and says the 21-year-old is of “strategic importance” to the Catalan giants.

Puig was promoted to the first-team squad for 2020-21 but struggled to make an impact, making just two La Liga starts under coach Ronald Koeman, a situation which baffled many supporters.

Laporta has been full of praise for the youngster in an interview with La Vanguardia and feels he can play a key role in the future, as reported by Diario AS.

He said, “For me, he is a player of extraordinary quality, strategic for the club because of his way of playing and his understanding of the game and the philosophy of the club (…) Let him be part of the group to earn his place.”

Is Puig The Future Of Barcelona?

Laporta’s words will offer Puig hope he go on and enjoy a bright future at the club. The president also seemed to give the youngster his seal of approval by ensuring Puig, and teenage forward Ansu Fati, were front and center when the club unveiled the team’s new kit for 2021-22.

Puig is a product of the club’s famed La Masia academy and has repeatedly made it clear he is determined to succeed at Barcelona and is not interested in a move away despite his lack of game time.

Offers are likely to arrive again this summer, although Barcelona has reportedly moved to extend Puig’s contract this summer. The club activated a clause which means the midfielder’s deal now runs until June 2023.

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Can Puig Convince Koeman?

Laporta’s faith in Puig is clear but the youngster still needs to convince Koeman of his qualities with the Dutchman set to take charge of the Catalan giants for a second season in 2021-22.

Koeman told Puig at the start of last season to look for a loan, but the midfielder opted to stay and fight for his place. There were a few highlights, his first goal for the club against Elche and a winning penalty in the Spanish Super Cup against Real Sociedad, but otherwise it was a largely frustrating campaign.

Puig clearly has work to do to force his way into the team and will hope to convince Koeman in pre-season. The first training session is scheduled for July 12, while friendlies against Villarreal, Manchester City, and Stuttgart are being lined up, according to AS.

Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, and Pedri were Koeman’s favored midfield trio last season but all three are involved at Euro 2020 which may affect their pre-season preparations depending on how far their teams go in the competition.

Meanwhile, midfielders such as Miralem Pjanic and Matheus Fernandes are expected to depart this summer which could also help Puig’s cause. According to Goal’s Adria Soldevila, the two players are among a host of names Barca is keen to offload.

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