Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Napoli Offer Contract Extension To This Barcelona Target: Would He Suit The Catalan Giants?

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Arthur has been subject to a lot of speculation this summer. While the Brazilian wants to stay at the club, the Catalans are trying to push him away in their bid to bring some of their primary targets to the squad. Although the 23-year-old is no close to leaving the team, Barca must look for other alternatives in case they finally succeed in convincing him to join any other side.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (as cited by Marca) reports that Napoli have offered Fabian Ruiz a contract extension until 2025 and the player has asked for a few days to make a decision. However, the Spaniard has been the subject of interest from both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Would Ruiz suit Barcelona?

Starting his career at Betis, the 24-year-old graduated through the youth ranks into the first team and made his debut for the senior side in 2014. Starting as a squad member, he was soon loaned to Elche to gain some vital first-team experience, although he was unable to save his side from relegation. The midfielder returned to Betis and his breakthrough season came under the then manager Quique Setién, who has now occupied the post of the manager at Barcelona. A season later he moved to Napoli, and his performances there were for everyone to see.

Ruiz lacks the flair associated with Spanish midfielders, but he makes it up with his hardworking nature. A box to box player, his style is exceptionally suited to that of the Premier League, and Barca would get a tenacious man in the Napoli player. His defensive contributions are what make him such a vital man for the Serie A side, and it can be demonstrated by the fact that he has amassed 2.4 interceptions per game in the Champions League. Playing primarily in the central midfield, the Spaniard also has made 1.7 tackles per 90 minutes in the Serie A.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 07: Quique Setien, Manager of Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on March 07, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

What is striking is the fact that Ruiz has also taken 2.4 shots on goal per game in the league, which is exceptional considering that primarily he helps the team regain position in his own half. However, it should also be mentioned that many of those shots were taken from a long distance, without much end product. A primary requirement of a midfield general of any team is his passing capability and the fact that the Spain international has completed 90.5% of his passes this term in the league speaks volumes.

Should Barcelona go for Ruiz?

The Catalan club are primarily known for their creativity in the midfield which also oozes down to the frontline. What they lack is a physically intimidating man taking much of the workload in the centre of the pitch. In Ruiz, Setién would have at his disposal, a player possessing this quality. The fact that the Barca manager had previously worked with the midfielder at Betis and again wants him in the side gives one the impression that the manager believes he has a role for the player.

Ruiz would be a valuable addition to the team in the European competitions as well, where high pressing fast opponents have often bulldozed Barca.  The Napoli man would be assigned the role of snatching the ball away from the feet of the opposition players and regaining possession. This could add a new dimension to the game of the Spanish giants, and they may avoid any further embarrassment like the one they suffered at the hands of Liverpool last season.

Stats from Whoscored.

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