Bielsa key as Barcelona try to push star towards Leeds over Arsenal

Date published: Wednesday 2nd December 2020 10:30 - James Marshment

Riqui Puig

Barcelona are reportedly hoping to tempt Leeds into signing young midfield star Riqui Puig on loan in January, according to a report.

The 21-year-old made his Barca debut back in the 2018/19 season, though largely had to be content with action for their B squad.

This year, however, Puig has been promoted the Barcelona’s main squad, with Ronald Koeman clearly a fan of the player. That was reflected by the young midfielder taking on the No 12 shirt in the Barcelona squad.

However, despite being described as “spectacular” by Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso, Puig’s development has slowed this season. That’s after Philippe Coutinho won back favour under Koeman in the Barca boss’ preferred 4-3-3 formation.

As such, the LaLiga giants are looking to send Puig out on loan to further his development.

The likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Napoli have all been touted as potential suitors.

However, according to reports in Spain, Barca see Leeds as the perfect next stage for his development. As per Sport, officials at the LaLiga club believe some time learning under Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa can massively aid Puig’s game.

Seen as a highly technical midfielder, it’s reported they want Bielsa to sharpen the Spain’s Under-21 star’s tactical acumen and understanding of the game.



Despite that, Eurosport insist there is absolutely no chance of Leeds having the chance to sign Puig on a permanent basis.

Indeed, they state Barca’s plan is to give Puig a new, long-term deal before sending him out on loan.

It’s not known at this stage whether Leeds would be keen on the deal.

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Pundit tips Phillips to replace Jordan Henderson

BBC pundit Garth Crooks says Kalvin Phillips would be a perfect replacement for Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson.

Crooks picked Leeds kingpin Phillips in his team of the week after his performance in the 1-0 win at Everton.

Phillips put in a masterful performance and even compared the midfielder to Manchester United legend Bryan Robson.

Kalvin Phillips TEAMtalk

But Crooks believes Phillips, who has been capped four times by Gareth Southgate for England, is destined for bigger things.

The 24-year-old may have only played seven Premier League games but Crooks thinks he could be perfect for Liverpool’s engine room.

“Leeds missed Kalvin Phillips against Leicester and Crystal Palace, but not against Everton,” wrote Crooks.

“The England international is making a name for himself, and was far too sharp for the Toffees.

“This kid reminds me of a young Bryan Robson, when the former England captain played for West Brom.

“Phillips can cover the ground, he’s not afraid to stick his foot in, and sees the pass. He doesn’t immediately grab your attention but given time you begin to realise the enormous contribution he’s making to the game.

“I think he’s the perfect replacement for Jordan Henderson and I don’t mean just for England.”

READ MORE: Mateusz Klich reveals two inspirations that saved his Leeds career


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