New Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has told Riqui Puig he will not be part of his plans at Camp Nou and should seek a transfer away from the club, according to reports.
The Dutch coach replaced Quique Setien at the end of last month and was expected to usher in a new era, getting rid of Barca’s older stalwarts and bringing in new blood from the academy.
But after just a couple of weeks of watching Puig in training, Koeman has seen enough and according to Catalan radio RAC1 has told the 21-year-old to leave.
Barca take on Elche on Saturday in the Joan Gamper Trophy their final pre-season friendly, but Puiq has been axed from the 23-man squad for the game.
Koeman is believed to favour a two-man midfield of Frenkie de Jong and summer signing Miralem Pjanic, who is the squad for Saturday’s game, with Puig deemed surplus to requirements.
The decision is something of a shock, with Puig earmarked as a player who could have a massive future at Barca, while he showing glimpses of his talent in his 11 La Liga appearances last season – particularly impressing after the restart.
The Dutch coach feels Puiq does not suit his system and there is too much competition ahead of him to promise him any significant game time this coming season.
Puig is believed to be ‘surprised’ by Koeman’s decision, as are many of his teammates, with the youngster highly rated by almost everyone at the club as well as supporters.
It remains to be seen if Barcelona’s hierarchy will back the decision to get rid of one of the jewels of their academy, though there is a feeling he could fetch a substantial fee which would be reinvested in the transfer market.