Serie A giants Napoli are reportedly eyeing out-of-favour Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig as a possible replacement for Fabian Ruiz.
According to a report by Spanish outlet Fichajes, Riqui Puig is the subject of interest from Napoli over a possible move in the summer transfer window. The Serie A giants view the out-of-favour Barcelona midfielder as a potential replacement for Fabian Ruiz, with the Blaugrana likely to demand around €10 million for him.
Riqui Puig joined Barcelona’s famed academy La Masia from UFC Jabac Terrassa as a 14-year-old in 2014 before rapidly progressing through the ranks at the club. The youngster subsequently made his first-team debut in December 2018, earning the faith of Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien.
But the 22-year-old’s stature has constantly declined in the last two years, with neither Ronald Koeman nor Xavi Hernandez fancying him much. Puig has managed just 363 minutes of game-time across 13 appearances across all competitions for Barcelona in the ongoing campaign. And with little under 18 months left on his contract, the player is poised to leave Barcelona in the summer.
Several clubs have been linked with Puig in recent months, but it appears his next destination could be Italy. That is because Serie A giants Napoli are showing an interest in the out-of-favour Barcelona midfielder and for a good reason.
The interest from Napoli could be stemming from the rampant uncertainties surrounding the future of Fabian Ruiz. The Spanish international is likely to depart the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in the summer transfer window, with European bigwigs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain keen on signing him.
Ruiz’s departure will leave a gaping hole in Napoli’s midfield unit, prompting the Partenopei to dip their toes in the transfer market. To that end, the Serie A giants have set their sights on Puig, who they view as the ideal replacement for Ruiz, with Barcelona unlikely to stand in the 22-year-old’s way.
Signing Puig might not be an expensive operation for Napoli, with Barcelona expected to demand around €10 million for him. With Barcelona keen on bolstering their midfield amid links with players like Ryan Gravenberch, offloading Puig will help them fund some of their transfers, meaning the youngster’s stint with the Blaugrana is fast approaching its end.