Riqui Puig, Carles Alena to Barcelona first-team squad

Barcelona will include young central midfielders Riqui Puig and Carles Alena in their first-team squad next season, say Diario Sport.

Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Artur Melo are the first-choice central midfielders at the club but the club are said to be hopeful of rejuvenating their squad.

Alena is currently on loan at Real Betis until the end of the campaign after finding playing time hard to come by at the Camp Nou under former boss Ernesto Valverde.

The 22-year-old La Masia youth graduate made 27 first-team appearances for the Catalan giants last season after being promoted from their B team but started just two games this season after the opening day of the campaign.

Alena has made 10 appearances for Betis to date since his loan move two months ago.

Puig, 20. made three senior appearances for the Catalan giants last season and is widely regarded as one of the brightest talents to come through their La Masia academy in years.

Puig made his La Liga debut on 13 April 2019, starting in a 0–0 draw against Huesca, and played 67 minutes, before starting in a 2-0 defeat to Celta Vigo in May.

He has featured for just 22 minutes in La Liga this season across two substitute appearances, both of which came under Quique Setien – against Levante and Granada.

The midfielder made his senior team debut with first team against Cultural Leonesa in a 4–1 home victory in the Copa Del Rey in December 2018, as he came on in the 55th minute and assisted the fourth goal. He described his debut as ‘a dream come true’.

A report in Diario Sport claimed Ajax, Celta de Vigo and Granada were all interested in securing him on loan.

Image via Diario Sport

Tags Carles Alena Riqui Puig