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Koeman’s Riqui Puig decision shows he has no business being at Barcelona

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The Dutchman is already making waves

Barcelona FC presents Ronald Koeman as new head coach Photo by Adria Puig/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

There have been some strange goings on at the club for a while now, and just when you think the dust has settled and we can go back to some kind of normality, along comes another situation that sees jaws dropping once more.

When Ronald Koeman was announced as the manager to take over from Quique Setien, there wasn’t a sharp, collective intake of breath, but nor was there the excitement that would normally be reserved for a club legend.

As a player, the Dutchman, particularly during his time at Barca, deserved the plaudits. As a manager, not so much.

His record for winning trophies is underwhelming, and his penchant for upsetting his dressing rooms, well known.

So far, so typical then.

FC Barcelona v Elche CF - Joan Gamper Trophy Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

He’s yet to take charge of a league match as manager of Barca, and in fairness to Koeman his team do appear to be playing pretty well considering.

There’s certainly been an upturn in training ground intensity, for example, and that has been long overdue.

However, the news which came out of the club on Saturday morning, which had suggested Koeman had told Riqui Puig to move elsewhere because he wasn’t in the first-team plans for 2020/21 has to be one of the worst decisions and pieces of club PR ever.

And in this of all seasons, that takes some doing.

Anyone with half a brain can see that Riqui is the future of the team. Even at his tender age, there should be absolutely no qualms about starting him in every single game.

Koeman’s clarification only sees him digging himself a deeper hole.

FC Barcelona v Girona - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

“It’s not true that I don’t count on him,” Koeman said on TV3. ”I was speaking with Riqui Puig yesterday. For me, the young players have to play. They can’t not play.

“That’s for Riqui, for Aleña, for Pedri... they have to play. I told Riqui that he has a future here but it’s going to be tough at the moment because of competition in his position. I recommended that he goes on loan. At 20, the young players need to play.”

If he can stomach it for a few more weeks, it would be a delight for many culers to see Puig dig his heels in, in the hope that the vote of no confidence is successful and a new manager is brought in alongside a new board.

Simply put, Puig has to stay put and, frankly, he has to be playing week in and week out too.

If Koeman genuinely can’t see that, then he has no business being back at the club in the first place.