Barcelona Identify €60m-rated Serie A midfielder as Pjanic alternative

Barca have sorted out Fabian Ruiz as an alternative option for Miralem Pjanic.

fabian-ruiz-ssc-napoli
Image source: transfermarkt.com

FC Barcelona are reportedly considering a transfer move for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz should their pursuit for Miralem Pjanic fail, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Blaugrana appear to be persistent in their pursuit for Juventus midfielder as they have proposed many swap deals. However, Bianconeri are only willing to accept Barca’s Arthur in the transfer exchange while neglecting the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo. Meanwhile, Arthur has made his intentions clear as he wants to stay at the Nou Camp at all cost.

Barca are now ready to turn their attention towards Ruiz if they fail to land Pjanic this summer. The Spaniard had been on the Barca’s transfer wishlist for a long time even before their interest in the Bosnian midfielder cropped up.

The Spanish U-21 star is said to be rated at €60m and also being wanted by Barca’s arch-rivals Real Madrid.

Ruiz has become one of the best midfielders in Serie A although he had played only two seasons at the Naples. Under Carlo Ancelotti, the 24-year-old quickly became an integral part of the side, racking up 7 goals and three assists in all competitions and further helped the Partenopei to end up second in the Scudetto race.

However, there has been a significant dip in the scoring rate for the ex-Real Betis star in this season – 2 goals and 2 assists in 22 Serie A appearances – which can be accredited to his change in roles – playing as a single pivot on occasions – under the new manager Gennaro Gattuso.

Ruiz was also instrumental behind Spain’s title-winning campaign in the Euro U-21 last year, which he eventually helped him earn a call up to the senior side later.

Will Ruiz be a good signing for Barca?

Despite being complacent with his end product this season, Ruiz has excelled at all the metrics: completing 1.2 dribbles and 1.5 key passes per game in Serie A this season; He has also a pass success percentage of 90 while averaging 76 passes per game.

 The above stats signify the technicality of the Spaniard – ball carrying, press resistant, progressive passing and ball circulation. The perfect archetype for a Barca-esque midfielder. He also averages 3.7 long balls per games, showing his ability to switch plays and find a forward who sneaks behind the opposition’s defensive line.

Ruiz also doesn’t compromise with his defensive abilities either as he has put up fair numbers this season – 1.7 tackles and 1. 2 interceptions.

Fabián Ruiz Characteristics
Screenshot: whoscored.com

Given his technical nous and the young age, Barca can benefit a lot from Ruiz while on the other hand, Pjanic, who has entered his 30s, is not the profile the Catalans should be thinking of now.

Above all, the Spanish midfielder can reunite with Quique Setien under whom he was brought into spotlight at Betis. With Ruiz, Barca will also be able to get rid of out-of-favour players like Vidal and Rakitic.

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