Barcelona midfielder Nico Gonzalez has arrived in Valencia ahead of completing a season-long loan move to the Liga side ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season.
Nico was given permission to skip Barcelona training on Wednesday and traveled to Valencia where he was met by reporters. The 20-year-old told Cope that he is looking forward to a new challenge with Los Che.
“I’m very happy. I have been very excited for a couple of days to get here,” he said about his impending move. Nico will spend the rest of the season at Mestalla but the deal is not expected to include a purchase option.
Valencia coach Gennaro Gattuso is thought to have been key to the move. Nico also confirmed he was hoping he may be able to debut on Sunday, August 14. “I’ve already had a conversation with [Gattuso]. I have a great feeling about working with him. I hope to get some minutes [against Girona].”
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Why Is Nico Leaving?
Nico is leaving Barcelona as he wants to play regular football in the new campaign. The 20-year-old featured 36 times last season for the Catalans but knows he may struggle for regular minutes in 2022-23 with Franck Kessie having arrived on a free transfer and with Miralem Pjanic back from a loan spell in Turkey.
A loan move offers Nico the chance to continue his development and play regularly. Manager Gattuso has already spoken to the Barcelona youngster and guaranteed him minutes, as reported by Fabrizio Romano.
The midfielder has explained the reasons for his departure on Instagram. He wrote, “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. At my 20, I need and want to play a lot of minutes to grow as a footballer, and therefore I decided that the right thing for me was to do it at another club this season. To the Culés, team and fans, I wish you all the luck in the world and may you celebrate many titles. See you again in a year. Força Barça!”
Collado Also Close To Loan Exit
Nico could be followed out of the Camp Nou by team-mate Alex Collado. The playmaker is close to joining La Liga side Elche on a season-long loan, as reported by Catalunya Radio.
Collado missed the start of the 2020-21 season, as he was not registered by Barcelona, and then spent the second half of the campaign on loan at Granada where he made 17 appearances in all competitions.
Another loan now beckons for the 23-year-old as, like Nico, he looks to have little chance of regular minutes if he stays at Barcelona. The Catalans have a host of options in midfield and have added Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski to their attack.
The two La Masia graduates may not be the only departures before the start of the new season. Barcelona are also keen to offload Samuel Umtiti and Martin Braithwaite, who have both been deemed surplus to requirements.