Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has confirmed in an interview with Barca TV+ that Riqui Puig will be staying at the club in a transfer U-turn from the Dutchman.
Koeman told the 21-year-old that he should leave on loan in the summer, but has now confirmed that his stance has changed on Puig.
Puig started to break into the first-team during the 18/19 campaign, making three appearances, before beginning to establish himself at senior level last season.
The central midfielder started six of his 12 appearances for the first-team last term, contributing two assists, Puig offered a different dimension to the midfield.
Here’s what Koeman had to say on the talent:
“Riqui has decided to stay. If his performance is there, then he will have opportunities to play.”
Puig has not made an appearance so far this season, being left on the bench for all three of Barcelona’s La Liga ties to date.
With the departures of Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal this summer – whilst Arthur Melo has essentially been replaced by Miralem Pjanic – there’s a chance for Puig to make a splash this season.
Koeman tinkering the formation and deploying Philippe Coutinho in a No.10 role has left the side with two starting central midfielders rather than the previous three in Sergio Busquets and Frenkie de Jong.
The Spain Under-21s ace will have to contend with fellow academy graduate Carles Alena for the chance to shine in the first-team this season.
Barcelona have trimmed down their squad considerably in the summer, so keeping hold of Puig may be the right decision if he’s afforded the amount of time he needs to develop.
Fixtures are piled up for the Catalan outfit following the end of the current international break, so perhaps Puig will receive an opportunity pretty soon.