Riqui Puig may be struggling for game time at Barcelona but has already decided to commit his future to the Catalan giants.
The 21-year-old midfielder has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the Camp Nou until at least 2023, according to Mundo Deportivo’s Ferran Martinez.
Puig’s contract was due to expire at the end of the current season but did contain an option to extend for a further two years. The clause has now been activated and includes a release clause set at €100 million ($122m).
As such the club is not planning an official announcement. Puig remains determined to succeed at Barcelona and will not go out on loan in January despite attracting interest from Real Betis, according to Sport.
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Puig to Get Chance in 2021?
Puig has only managed 79 minutes of first-team action for Barcelona so far this season under Ronald Koeman, who advised the youngster to go out on loan at the start of the campaign, but there are signs he could be given more game time in 2021.
Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out for three months after undergoing knee surgery, while midfielder Carles Alena is expected to leave in the January transfer window on loan.
According to Sport, the 23-year-old is close to joining Getafe until the end of the season and a transfer between the two clubs could be completed before the end of the week.
The departure of Alena and the absence of Coutinho would reduce Koeman’s options in midfield which could benefit Puig, particularly with the club currently in the midst of a hectic fixture list.
Koeman Not Convinced?
Yet Puig will still have his work cut out convincing Koeman he deserves a regular place in the starting XI. The youngster has impressed off the bench this season but doesn’t appear to have been doing enough on the training ground for the coach’s liking.
Koeman offered his thoughts on why Puig has not enjoyed as much game time recently as other youngsters at a news conference in December.
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.
The Barcelona boss also called out Puig in front of the entire Barca squad at the start of the season. The Dutchman accused the youngster of being a dressing room leak, according to Juan I. Irigoyen at El Pais.
Puig will need to grasp any first-team opportunities he can with both hands if he is to force his way into the team this season, but the youngster’s decision to renew suggests he remains determined to succeed at the Camp Nou.