Barcelona could have a problem with Riqui Puig this summer. The midfielder is not in the club's plans and they will look for an exit, but the player has always resisted leaving because his desire is to succeed at his hometown club, who he joined aged 14.
Ronald Koeman recommended a loan in 2020 but Puig opted to stay. After the Dutchman's dismissal, he hoped he would play more under Xavi, but that has not been the case.
The numbers confirm it. He started in the Copa del Rey against Linares in January but was taken off at half-time and has played just 25 minutes since. Barça have played 23 games in that time and he's been available for them all, but played in just two: eight minutes vs. Napoli and 17 against Osasuna.
Against Osasuna, he scored his only goal of the season. In total, he has played 380 minutes across 14 games this campaign.
"Riqui Puig has to leave whatever this summer," they explain inside the club. The statistics offer the same advice, but it's also true they need his place in the squad to make room for the players Xavi wants. That's where the problem appears. He doesn't have great options. Only two or three clubs are ready to pay his salary. And they all want a loan, while Barça want a transfer. Puig has a contract until 2023 and will be free next summer, so a loan does not work.
One option is to pay off his contract and let him leave for free now. Another possibility is to renew his deal by a year and loan him, to avoid losing value, although the club don't want to do that in theory. It will all depend on the player's decision.
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