‘New Iniesta’ could help Leeds sign wonderful English talent this summer
Riqui Puig was dubbed the ‘new Andres Iniesta’ during his formative years at La Masia.
But while the former Barcelona wonderkid may never reach the impeccable standards set by a man who has won everything there is to win for club and country, his 13-minute cameo on the bench against Osasuna on Sunday offered a timely reminder of the scintillating toe. talent that Puig still carries in that tiny 5ft 6in frame.
After his opening shot was saved by visiting keeper Sergio Herrera, Puig reacted with light speed on the rebound, dancing around the sprawling shot-stopper before taking an extra touch to bamboozle a rushing defender.
Puig completed the move by cutting a classy finish into the corner of Osasuna’s net.
Effortless yet brutal in its effectiveness; Puig’s second goal in Barca colors was a fitting tribute to a man he was so often called upon to emulate at Camp Nou.
Is Riqui Puig’s time at Barcelona over?
But at 22, and with just one La Liga start this season, the chances of Puig staying to emulate Iniesta in Catalonia look decidedly slim.
Despite head coach Xavi’s admiration for the La Masia graduate, Puig has been overtaken in Barcelona’s pecking order by teenagers Pedri and Gavi.
Pablo Torre, 18, joined Racing Santander last week in a deal that could potentially set Barca back £18million.
According to Sport, Wolverhampton Wanderers will offer Puig a fresh start this summer. Potentially as part of a deal that will see Adama Traore seal a permanent switch to a fit and fit Barcelona outfit.
Morgan Gibbs-White probably knows how Puig feels.
Once the rising star rose through the ranks at his boyhood club, Gibbs-White seemed destined for a role in the Wolves first team after bursting onto the scene as a teenager.
But, having struggled to deliver on that initial promise, Gibbs-White – like Puig – faces an uncertain future with the summer window looming.
Gibbs-White out, Puig in?
According to TEAMtalk, Leeds United, Crystal Palace and Fulham are looking to move the 22-year-old Stafford-born away from Molineux.
Now, the situations Gibbs-White and Puig face aren’t quite the same. While one has found playing time very hard to come by in 2021/22, the other has eight goals and seven assists – including a superb backheel against Middlesbrough – to his name during a loan spell filled with highlights at Sheffield United.
But there will always be an inevitable sense of irony if Puig – another hugely promising attacking midfielder who fell by the wayside at his boyhood club – ends up lifting the curtain on Gibbs-White’s Wolves career .
In other news, Jurgen Klopp hints ‘incredible’ Liverpool player could leave amid Leeds United rumors