What has Gerard Deulofeu said about reported Everton target Riqui Puig?
Everton have reportedly joined the race for Barcelona youngster Riqui Puig. According to the Sunday Mirror (16/12/2018; pg 65), the Spanish talent is on the Everton radar. Previously linked with Tottenham Hotspur and compared to Andres Iniesta, Everton are hoping to pull off a coup for the player.
He is undoubtedly highly-rated. His current release clause stands at €100 million (£89.8 million), according to Marca, and Everton will not be willing to pay that sort of fee. But it does highlight just how highly Barcelona think of him.
Everton have been in this sort of situation before. The Toffees, under Roberto Martinez, pursued Barcelona talent Gerard Deulofeu, who himself was considered a top star for the future at the Nou Camp.
In two spells at Goodison Park, the Spanish winger played 75 times for Everton scoring eight times.
“Look at Riqui Puig. All the people say: ‘He is this and this,’ but you have to be careful because the guy is so young.
“It’s difficult because at Barcelona, you always have eyes on you. All the people speak. It’s good [in one way] but after, it’s bad because the people think you are Messi or a player with a lot of experience. You have to be careful because you have to go step by step.”
Now at Watford, he recently spoke to The Guardian about Puig, picking him out as the current star of the Barcelona youth team that everyone is talking about.
Considering the likes of Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi came out of La Masia previously, being tipped as its current best product by a former player is quite the endorsement.
But Deulofeu, perhaps recalling from experience, knows the pitfalls that can come from being so highly rated in the Barcelona youth team. Hopefully, Puig can go on to be the star most expect him to be. If that happens to be with Everton, then that’s an added bonus.