It is two years since Arnau Puigmal was called up along with Mason Greenwood and chosen to join with Manchester United’s first team.
While Greenwood has gone onto become a star, Puigmal is heading for a quiet goodbye.
The Mail reports Puigmal is set to return to Spain, with Almeria favourites to sign him.
Now Puigmal has sent a picture on his Instagram feed at Barcelona Airport, with a caption titled, ‘back home’.
Puigmal’s contract expires at the end of June, and an exit looks inevitable at this point.
The MEN reported in March that Puigmal was expected to be released.
A season which began so promisingly
In the first half of the under-23 season, Puigmal was one of United’s best players.
In nine appearances he scored six goals and provided three assists, contributing a goal a game.
In 2021 Puigmal played only twice, scoring once in a win over Liverpool. He got injured against Everton in early February and did not play again after that, even though the knock was not thought to be serious.
An opportunity missed?
United won beat competition from Barcelona to sign Puigmal from Espanyol three years ago.
He has developed into a very talented prospect, featuring for United in midfield and at right-back.
Perhaps, understandably amid the pandemic, he got homesick and began longing for a return to Spain. But United could have alleviated this with first team chances.
When he was in fine form in the first half of the season, Puigmal could have been promoted, especially with Juan Mata taking time out at the start of the year. He could have been given a month to train with the first team to see if he was able to make an impact – his form warranted it.
Instead United will lose him for nothing. At some stage you also have to trust the coaching staff, who may have felt Puigmal would never establish himself as a regular for United, but its a shame he did not at least get 90 minutes, or a cameo appearance, to try and prove his quality in a first team shirt.
At Almeria, Puigmal would join Largie Ramazani, who left United in similar circumstances last summer following a strong season for the under-23s.
The club currently sit third in the Spanish second division and are battling to win promotion to La Liga. Newspaper Sport reported in January that Barcelona were interested in adding him to their B team.
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