Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has found a solution to his midfield conundrum in Nico Gonzalez. He is expected to act as the manager's "new signing" and provide cover to Sergio Busquets at the heart of the team's midfield.
The 19-year-old was given an opportunity to train with the first-team this summer. With Busquets, Pedri and Ilaix Moriba unavailable, he was involved in the pre-season games. Gonzalez made an instant impact on the manager and made his debut for Barcelona during their La Liga season-opening win against Real Sociedad.
According to Spanish publication Sport, Koeman now considers him as the back up for Busquets, who occupies the role of the midfield pivot that links the defence and the attack. The Dutch manager was keen to sign a midfielder, but has been overruled by the club management, who are only looking at offloading players at the moment.
The Barcelona manager was ready to put his faith in the young midfielder following his impressive displays during the pre-season games. He admits that it will take him time to adapt to the rigours of the first-team, but remains confident that he can fill the support role during the 2021-22 campaign.
"He's a very young player who has stepped up to the first team. It's about increasing the rhythm of his game. If there's moments we have problems in the middle, we know we've got a pivot in him," Koeman said earlier in the summer.
Gonzalez, who made his debut against Sociedad on Sunday, was ecstatic at being given the "once in a lifetime" opportunity. He made it clear that the jersey he wore on his debut was going up on the wall and even his father cannot claim it.
"The shirt I'll never give to anyone, it's for me. My father asked me for it, but I think I'll keep it and I'll frame it because it's something unique and only happens once in life," Gonzalez said.