JOSE MOURINHO is reportedly keen to take Barcelona outcast Riqui Puig to Roma, with the midfielder desperate for first-team football.
Puig, 22, has played a bit-part role for Barcelona for the last couple of seasons and it is claimed Mourinho is prepared to offer him a lifeline.
Roma boss Jose Mourinho is interested in signing Barca fringe player Riqui PuigCredit: Getty
Despite being starved of minutes in the first-team, Puig has been reluctant to quit his boyhood club until now, having joined Barca at the age of 14.
The Spaniard made just one league start for Barca last season and is reportedly fed up of sitting on the side-lines.
Barca boss Ronald Koeman has promoted youth players Pedri and Gavi to the first-team set-up, who have both featured regularly.
And with Puig sliding even further down the pecking order this season, a move away from the Camp Nou has never looked more likely.
Mourinho is reportedly keen to strengthen his midfield in January, and Puig is claimed to be the prime candidate.
Reports suggest he could leave Barca on loan, giving Roma the opportunity to decide whether they want to make a permanent move in the summer.
Roma are currently fourth in the Serie A and Mourinho is keen to build a team to challenge for the Scudetto in the coming seasons.
And with Puig only showing glimpses of his potential in a Barcelona shirt so far, Roma may be reluctant to risk committing to a permanent deal.
Cash-strapped Barca will likely push for a substantial loan fee, giving them the ability to replace Puig in case of another injury crisis.
French winger Ousmane Dembele is also available again after recovering from injury, giving Barca a huge boost in their attacking options.
The Spanish giants are currently ninth in LaLiga and boss Koeman is under immense pressure to turn things around quickly, with just one win in six.
Puig has spent the majority of his senior career at Barcelona on the benchCredit: Alamy