Riqui Puig’s future at Barcelona remains the subject of speculation with the highly-rated midfielder struggling for game time and out of contract at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
Yet a major decision has already been reached on the youngster’s future, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano. Barca won’t send Puig out on loan in January and will activate a clause in his current deal to extend his contract.
Barcelona – at the moment – are not planning to loan out Riqui Puig in January. And his contract will be extended until June 2023 with clause set to be triggered. He’s not leaving as a free agent in Barça plans. 🇪🇸 #FCB #Barça @MatteMoretto
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 30, 2020
Puig is a fan favorite at the Camp Nou but has found it tough going under coach Ronald Koeman in 2020-21. The Dutchman advised Puig to go out on loan this season as he would struggle for game time.
The midfielder opted to stay but has found opportunities limited. He’s yet to start for the Catalan giants in the current campaign and has managed only 79 minutes of action in all competitions.
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Arsenal & AC Milan Linked with Puig
Some top European clubs have been linked with a move for Puig ahead of the opening of the January transfer window. Serie A side AC Milan have had good reports on the youngster and could try to land him on a loan deal, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
Premier League side Arsenal are also admirers of the Barca youngster and want to bring in a creative midfielder in the January window to strengthen their squad, according to The Athletic.
Koeman has spoken about Puig’s lack of game time recently in a news conference and offered an explanation as to why the midfielder has not featured as regularly as other youngsters such as center-back Ronald Araujo.
We are talking about different players. Maybe Riqui Puig needs more physique, but I like people who work to improve every day. And who take with both hands all the options they have to improve things.
In that [Puig’s] position on the field there is a lot of competition but perhaps in training he does not do enough to make the coach change his way of thinking. Today it is not all about quality, you need other things as well.
Puig has always made it clear he wants to stay at Barcelona and fight for his place. He clearly is yet to gain Koeman’s trust but will be aware there could be major changes at the club in 2021 with presidential elections due to take place on January 24.
Puig to Benefit from Coutinho Injury?
The academy graduate may also benefit from news that team-mate Philippe Coutinho is set to undergo knee surgery. The Brazilian picked up a problem in Tuesday’s draw with Eibar and looks set for a lengthy lay-off.
Coutinho’s absence reduces Koeman’s creative attacking options and could see Puig handed more minutes going forward. Pedri is the most likely player to continue in the starting XI, but Koeman will need to rotate his team due to Barca’s congested fixture schedule.
Puig has had to be patient at Barcelona but the club’s decision not to send him out loan suggests he remains part of their future plans and maybe set for more first-team opportunities in 2021.