Arsenal sit on the 11th position after playing 23 games in the premier league. Such substandard performance, well ignited the want for some changes in the club. With Mesut Ozil leaving the London-based club in the January transfer window and joining Turkey’s Fenerbahce, to resuscitate his career in football; Mikael Arteta looked forward to adding more depth to his squad, in hope to turn around the shambles of the current season.
Though the Gunners did secure the services of Martin Odegaard for the rest of the season, it’s reported that they failed to sign FC Barcelona youngster Riqui Puig before moving on to the Real Madrid man. Leeds United were reportedly also on the hunt for the 21-year-old. But Arsenal looked well ahead in the race to sign him. Unfortunately, for the English club the deal was not sealed as the Catalan giants decided to keep the young midfielder to themselves.
Arsenal failed to secure the Barcelona youngster in January
Transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano in a recently concluded podcast stated that
At the start of the window Arsenal were seriously trying to sign Riqui Puig on loan with a buy option, in a similar deal as Odegaard, also with Riqui Puig at Barcelona,”
Barcelona said let’s see with Koeman, if he wants to keep the player, if he wants to play, let’s wait some weeks. Then in the middle of January they said no, Riqui Puig is not moving, we are keeping him.” said Romano.
Although Arsenal did manage to get an excellent young midfielder in Odegaard, Puig may just have been the creative force Arteta was looking to possess in order to control the game and destabilize the opponent’s defense. Dubbed as the “next Iniesta” by ex-AC Milan star, Daniele Massaro, Puig has given some promising performances in the Blaugrana colours this season.
Notably, the game against Juventus in the last round of the UEFA champions league group games, where he came off of the bench and effortlessly controlled the midfield and dominated the play. The Catalans ended up losing the match, however, in the 24 minutes that Puig was on the pitch, he had a pass accuracy of 92.7% and finished the match with a 9/10 rating.
Such performances earned him a spot in the plans of Barcelona gaffer Ronald Koeman and currently he will continue to play for his boyhood club. As for Arteta and Arsenal they might have just missed out on the missing piece from the puzzle that would have helped them to salvage something out of this nightmarish season.
Image Credit – FC Barcelona Twitter