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Barcelona Transfer News: Tottenham Reportedly Close on Riqui Puig Amid Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMay 19, 2018

NYON, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 20: #14 Picard Puig of FC Barcelona celebrates his goal with teammates during the semi-final football match between Manchester City and FC Barcelona of UEFA Youth League at Colovray Sports Centre on April 20, 2018 in Nyon, Switzerland. (Photo by Monika Majer/Getty Images)
Monika Majer/Getty Images

Barcelona could be on the verge of losing one of their academy's biggest talents, as Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly closing in on a move for midfield starlet Ricard "Riqui" Puig.

MailOnline's Simon Jones reported Puig has hit an impasse with Barca over a new contract and is said to be "keen" to link up with Espanyol defender and manager-turned-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Puig, 18, is currently in Barcelona's Juvenil A setup (under-19s) but has trained with the first team and made his Barcelona B debut in February, an indication of the hopes his club has for him in future.

However, it's believed the negotiations over a new deal are what's sparked his openness to leaving the Camp Nou, per Yahoo's Andrew Gaffney:

Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC

According to @albert_roge, Puig never wanted to leave Barcelona - he’s a true La Masia boy - but the delay in offering him a new deal and a disappointing conversation with Segura (Sports Manager) has opened the door to a move to Tottenham. He doesn’t have an agent. #THFC

The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Hector Bellerin and Adama Traore have found first-team success in England in recent years after leaving Catalonia, although in Fabregas' case he would later return to the Camp Nou for a spell.

Scouts In Attendance offered some insight on the clubs monitoring playmaker Puig earlier in May, with Spurs likely to encounter competition should the player be available:

Scouts in Attendance @scoutsattending

One of #mcfc top scouts is at Copa Campeoes tournament in Spain, so he would have seen this goal from 18yo #barca Juvenil A star Riqui Puig v Malaga.... He's arguably the biggest talent from La Masia in years (saying something) & RAC1 claim he has offers from other clubs https://t.co/sAtPM3EqQS

The fact Barca have already failed to agree an extension indicates Puig will be up for grabs on a free transfer when his contract expires in June, and Pochettino is thought to be chasing bigger investment this summer, per Jones.

Albert Roge of Sport recently reported Puig's summer fate "will be decided in days," and he faces a decision over whether to chase a first-team future among Barca's stars or seek to contend soon with the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen.

Spanish sports writer Andy West recently identified Puig as a particularly promising prospect on Barcelona's books at the moment, also noting the origins he shares with a certain Blaugrana legend:

Andy West @andywest01

Let's hope some of the title winning youngsters start coming through into Barça's senior squad. It's been a long time. Riqui Puig (from same town as Xavi) looks especially promising. https://t.co/v0QQyyHLHX

Tottenham have cultivated a gifted squad under Pochettino's care, but there's perhaps something to be said for the club in terms of the young talent it's able to develop in comparison with its Premier League peers.

Recruiting a player of Puig's promise would be a significant step in the right direction, although Barcelona could still launch a late effort to convince their Juvenil A star to stay.

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