Barcelona’s midfield, as brilliant as it looks with Sergio Busquets as the anchor, flanked by Pedri and Frenkie de Jong, could be up for a collapse this season. Pedri has been overworked across the last season, while Busquets is over 33 years old.
Riqui Puig, for all his fan-following within the Catalan fanbase, has not been able to register minutes under Ronald Koeman. Ilaix Moriba leapfrogged his spot as the fourth midfielder last season, but with the controversy around his contract, he has been ostracised, with an exit looming large.
That could have meant positive news for Puig, but according to SPORT, Nico Gonzalez is set to become Koeman’s choice to replace Ilaix. After first watching him during a friendly, Koeman has closely followed Nico and is impressed with his progress.
The Dutchman believes that Nico is the ideal replacement for Busi in the heart of the midfield and that he could seamlessly take up the spot left behind by Ilaix. Puig, though, is set to fight it out for his place in the team, yet again.
After an impressive pre-season with the first team, the teenager was handed his first official senior cap during the season opener against Real Sociedad. He replaced Busquets in the 83rd minute when the score was 3-2 and was wrongly called for a foul that led to Mikel Oyarzabal’s goal from a free-kick.
That said, it was more than indicative of Koeman’s intentions this season. While Puig was not even called to warm up, Miralem Pjanic was left out from the squad altogether. It was, in fact, Sergi Roberto who took up that spot in midfield while Sergino Dest and Emerson were deployed as right-backs.
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