Puyol admits Liverpool, United target has struggled

Matt Stead

Barcelona defender Marc Bartra has endured a disappointing season despite links to Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, according to Carles Puyol.

Bartra emerged from Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy six years ago, and has played more than 100 games for the first team.

However, the central defender has failed to earn a regular starting spot, and now finds himself fifth-choice in the current pecking order, having completed a full 90 minutes just seven times across all competitions this season.

His representative and former teammate Puyol admits this has been a disappointing season for the Spaniard.

“Bartra’s season, on a personal level, has not been as good as we had hoped,” Puyol said. “He did not have much playing time, but now he is focused on the national team. He is very motivated and excited [about the Euros]. We will see what happens.”

The 25-year-old was linked with a move to the Premier League by Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo earlier this week, with Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham thought to be his main suitors.

On Thursday, Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez hinted at either a potential buy-back option in any deal, or a possible loan spell away as he does not wish to lose Bartra permanently.

“Marc Bartra leaving could handicap us,” Fernandez said. “We will have to learn what Bartra is going to decide, but I do not want him to leave. If he does, I would like him to remain with the club. There are important conditions.”