Barcelona prospect Riqui Puig has been offered to Leeds United on a loan deal while the Catalans might have found a Gerard Pique replacement in Oscar Mingueza.
According to an exclusive report from 90min.com, Barcelona youngster Riqui Puig has been offered on loan to several clubs including Premier League side Leeds United ahead of the January transfer window.
The 21-year-old midfielder is a product of Barcelona’s reputed La Masia youth academy and has been hailed as one of the brightest prospects to have come through the ranks in recent years. However, Puig hasn’t been able to carve out a place for himself in the senior setup at Camp Nou so far.
Puig made his first-team debut for Barcelona back in December 2018 under Ernesto Valverde but has managed to make just 17 senior appearances so far. He did get some opportunities under Quique Setien last season and to his credit, the midfielder impressed whenever he was out on the pitch.
However, there has been no such joy for Puig in the ongoing campaign, with new manager Ronald Koeman seemingly not favouring him. The 21-year-old has made just two appearances so far this season, totalling up to just 28 minutes of footballing action.
With Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and summer signing Miralem Pjanic hogging game time in the middle of the park and Carles Alena also in contention, Puig’s situation is unlikely to improve as things stand.
Concerned over the lack of playing time, Puig’s agent is now looking to find a new club for his client to ensure that his development doesn’t stall. However, it will only be a temporary situation as the 21-year-old remains keen on making it big at Camp Nou.
To that end, Puig’s representative has been in touch with Leeds United exploring the possibility of a loan deal till the end of the season. It is claimed that Marcelo Bielsa’s possession-based style of football is seen as the ideal system for the Spaniard to showcase his qualities.
However, Leeds are not the only club that have been approached, with Bundesliga giants RB Leipzig as well as Ligue 1’s AS Monaco also being offered Puig’s services. The report adds that manager Koeman is encouraging a loan move for Puig and it remains to be seen whether the 21-year-old ends up leaving Camp Nou come January.
Oscar Mingueza ready to replace Gerard Pique
It is no secret that Barcelona have been scouring the transfer market for a new centre-back since summer, considering the limited options available at the manager’s disposal. The need for a new centre-half was further accentuated after senior defender Gerard Pique picked up a serious injury last week.
The Catalans have been eyeing a swoop for Manchester City’s Eric Garcia, while of late, a move for former Real Madrid star Ezequiel Garay, who is currently a free agent, has also been mooted.
However, up until the January transfer window arrives, Barcelona may have found an in-house replacement for the veteran star in Barcelona B defender Oscar Mingueza, as outlined by a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo.
Another product of the La Masia youth setup, the 21-year-old is a boyhood fan of the club and has come through various age groups to become a mainstay for the Barcelona B team, racking up 35 appearances.
The centre-back had been named among the substitutes on three occasions at the first-team level, but he finally got his big break on Tuesday in Barcelona’s UEFA Champions League clash against Dynamo Kyiv. And Mingueza enjoyed an impressive debut for the Blaugrana, helping them to a clean sheet, while also registering an assist.
Óscar Mingueza's passing against Dynamo Kyiv:
92% pass accuracy
86 completed pic.twitter.com/AgRHHXkzhv
— 🅐 (@Barzaboy) November 24, 2020
Former Barcelona coach Jordi Font, who discovered Mingueza’s talents, spoke to Radio Marca describing the youngster as “a central defender with very good ball distribution” while comparing his playing style to Pique himself.
Mingueza, on the back of his encouraging display on Tuesday, could prove to be a regular option for the Catalans, at least until the January transfer window arrives.