Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona has no place for Riqui Puig

Riqui Puig of FC Barcelona. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Riqui Puig of FC Barcelona. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

The Barcelona manager left Riqui Puig out of the squad list for their friendly against Elche.

Barcelona released their squad list ahead of their Joan Gamper match against Elche. The omission that quickly caught everyone’s attention was the absence of Riqui Puig.

Puig was one of the few bright spots from last season and impressed coming out of the restart. Along with Ansu Fati, he was set to be an integral part of a new Barcelona.

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According to Sport, Ronald Koeman has informed Puig that he does not enter into his plans and that he should look for an exit.

Koeman’s reasoning is that with his 4-2-3-1 formation, there is no place for Puig in his system and that there is simply too much competition ahead of him.

The news reportedly caught Puig by surprise who had high hopes for the season and figured he was going to finally get his opportunity with the first team.

He was told by club president Josep Maria Bartomeu as well as by sporting director Ramon Planes that the club counted on him.

Depending on what happens with the vote of no confidence against the board and the upcoming elections, on one hand, it can be rationalized why the 21-year-old doesn’t enter into the Dutchman’s plans.

Koeman is under immense pressure to improve the team because if the likes of Victor Font becomes president, Xavi Hernandez is set to take over. Koeman does not have time to develop players and will pin his hopes on more established talent.

With one year left on his contract, his future with Barcelona has suddenly been cast into doubt. Once the new year hits, Puig is free to negotiate with other teams and Barcelona would not be entitled to a transfer fee.

Puig and his advisors now have a decision to make on their hands. Forced to look for an exit, the only question is whether it is a loan or on a permanent basis.

Since the likes of Xavi and Iniesta left, Barcelona have spent too much money on trying to find  replacements with little to no success.

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Just one day after former La Masia graduate Thiago Alcantara signed for Liverpool, the Catalans are once again in danger of losing another promising young player who checks all the boxes of what the club look for in a midfielder. They may very well be on the verge of committing the same mistake. Only this time with Riqui Puig.