Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has reportedly been instructed to utilise out-of-favour pair Riqui Puig and Samuel Umtiti.
Spanish daily sports paper MARCA is reporting that the Catalan club’s president, Joan Laporta, has been in touch with Koeman to tell him the game time being afforded to the duo is insufficient and has to be changed.
Ronald Koeman Told to Make More Use of Riqui Puig and Samuel Umtiti
Neither Player Has Made a La Liga Appearance This Season Under Koeman
What is clear at this stage is that neither player has featured in Koeman’s plans for Barcelona’s league season so far. In the club’s three matches leading up to the current international break, the Dutchman has not afforded any minutes to either player.
It remains to be seen whether Laporta’s apparent discontent has any impact on Koeman’s thinking going forward. Of the two players, 22-year-old midfielder Puig would appear to have the brighter future in Catalonia.
Though starved of action this season so far, the Spaniard has been earmarked as a promising young talent, having progressed through Barcelona’s academy and into the first-team.
Puig has made 39 appearances for Barcelona at senior level since breaking into the first-team in 2018. However, he has failed to make more than 14 league appearances in a single season to date.
The future would appear to be less bright for France defender Samuel Umtiti. Despite being an established centre-half at international level with 34 appearances and a Wold Cup winner’s medal to his name, the 27-year-old’s Barcelona career has not passed without its ups and downs.
Umtiti had been expected to leave Barcelona this summer, but remains at the club after the transfer window and now faces the prospect of being potentially shoe-horned into the side against his manager’s wishes.
Koeman’s Tumultous Barcelona Tenure
It is fair to say Barcelona manager Koeman has had to deal with more than his fair share of challenges since becoming the club’s manager in August 2020.
Managing the La Liga giants has always been the Dutchman’s dream job: Koeman even left his role as manager of Holland’s national team to take over in Catalonia.
In the year since then, the former Everton boss has seen the reign of former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu end in chaos, and he knows the club’s board are not unanimously in favour of him continuing as its manager.
At the start of the Laporta era, Koeman has also seen the truth behind Barcelona’s self-destructive financial status revealed to the public, with club legend Lionel Messi having to leave as a result of La Liga salary cap rules.
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