Sunday, October 2, 2022

Barcelona’s Youth Sensation Offered To Leeds United: Is He A Viable Target For Bielsa?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Eurosport, Riqui Puig has been offered to Leeds United. The Barcelona midfielder has struggled with a lack of opportunities in the first-team, and his representatives are growing desperate to find him a temporary new home in the upcoming January transfer window. Leeds United are among the clubs identified as potential options as it is believed that the player’s suitor must play a certain brand of football.

Riqui Puig’s Struggles At Barcelona

Widely considered as one of the brightest prospects to come out of La Masia academy in recent years, Riqui Puig has been quite unlucky with his lack of opportunities in the Barca first-team, despite his talents being recognized by the club’s hierarchy.

The young midfielder was involved in just over 500 minutes of league football last season, and things haven’t improved since the arrival of Ronald Koeman. In fact, Puig has mustered a total of just three minutes of league football under the Dutchman, who has continued to put his faith on ageing Sergio Busquets.

Puig failing to make his breakthrough into the Barcelona first-team despite the departures of Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Arthur Melo hasn’t gone down well with the fans either. But, it appears the Spaniard has to make his name elsewhere if he is to please Koeman.

What Can He Bring To The Table?

A central midfielder by trade, Puig can be deemed as a productive number eight. He primarily likes to keep hold of possession and act as a ball-carrier in the middle of the park. In fact, a healthy ball progression is his biggest asset, with the midfielder’s nifty footwork and a low centre of gravity allowing him the ability to squeeze through tight spaces.

Riqui Puig has been offered to Leeds United - A good option?
LISBON, PORTUGAL – AUGUST 13: Riqui Puig of FC Barcelona reacts as he arrives to the training session ahead of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final match against Bayern Munich at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on August 13, 2020, in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Manu Fernandez/Pool via Getty Images)

In addition, Puig is tactically versatile as well, though the 21-year-old does need to work on his overall physique and discipline. He is, nonetheless, one of the most talented midfielders in La Liga at the moment.

Is Puig A Good Fit For Leeds United?

Leeds United are currently in desperate need of reinforcements in the midfield department. The Whites are lacking a reliable alternative to Kalvin Phillips, which became evident during the club’s little rough patch that saw them go winless in three consecutive matches.

However, what makes Puig such an appealing target for Leeds United is the fact that he can not only provide cover for Phillips but can also be deployed in an attacking midfield role. He can thus serve as an alternative for the ageing Pablo Hernandez while allowing Rodrigo Moreno to feature in a more attacking role, ultimately offering Marcelo Bielsa with more tactical options at his disposal.

Puig, therefore, is indeed a viable option for Leeds United. He has the technical prowess that should improve the club’s build-up game and the Premier League outfit should definitely look to work out a short-term loan deal in the upcoming January transfer window.

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