One of the most controversial characters in the Barcelona soap opera in recent years, Riqui Puig looks as if he might end up leaving the club this summer.
Under previous managers Puig had become a beacon for the feeling that Barcelona’s youngsters were not being given enough of a chance in the first team. Since Ronald Koeman and particularly Xavi Hernandez have been in charge however, the clamour for Puig to play has cooled.
Xavi admitted that he had told the young midfielder he was allowed to leave and has informed Puig that it is not necessary for him to start pre-season training with the team.
As Puig assesses his options, two have stood out. Valencia appeared to show an interest in a loan deal after the arrival of Gennaro Gattuso came in, but their financial situation means that Los Che have put a hold on any incomings until sales are made.
According to Sport, the strongest option at the moment is Lazio. Maurizio Sarri is on the hunt for a technical and offensive midfielder and a loan for Puig would be a relatively simple one to make with the player’s blessing.
There had been interest from Lazio in Celta Vigo’s Denis Suarez, but a deal for him looks more expensive and complicated at this point. It is expected that the Italian club would cover most of his wages, without a loan fee.
Although it’s understandable that Puig would loathe to leave his hometown club, it appears that those around him are doing what they can to make the decision for him.