Following his retirement from football at the end of last season, Bojan Krkic has returned to Barcelona in the role of football co-ordinator. As part of this, he oversees the first team players that are out on loan at various clubs across Europe.
Speaking to Sport, Bojan gave his assessment of the players he is keeping an eye on, starting with Ansu Fati, who is spending the season at Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion.
“I came back very happy from Brighton. I really liked the coach and his staff. I know the assistant coach (Andrea Maldera) from my time at Milan. In fact, we still keep in touch. Brighton is a team that plays very good football in a league that allows you to play football. Ansu is in very good hands. His coach (Roberto Di Zerbi) believes in him, and he masters the management of young players. He’s very happy.”
Bojan also commented on Pablo Torre and Eric Garcia, who have had contrasting fortunes at Girona since the start of the season.
“Pablo in a team that, this season, is flying. He has a lot of competition. He’s a young kid who’s just starting out, and the truth is that his progress is very good. We have to leave him alone, he’s a great player. He’s training at a good level. His time will come.
“Eric is very happy. The decision he made was a very wise one. It’s close to home and Girona are a team that plays very good football. He’s got a great coach. He’s the captain of the defence, he’s delighted.”
Next, Bojan discussed Julian Araujo, who has impressed during his time as Las Palmas so far, having joined Barcelona officially during the summer from LA Galaxy.
“Next week I’ll go to see him in Pamplona. He’s performing very well, especially defensively. In his case, it’s especially important that he’s playing and competing. His evolution is very good at all levels.”
Bojan also spoke of Chadi Riad, who has perhaps played more than expected at Real Betis this season, with the Andalusians having been very short of options at centre-back due to injuries and the late sale of Luiz Felipe.
“His situation is a little different from the rest (as Betis can buy him permanently next summer), but we are also monitoring him. He’s been an important part of one of the teams that plays the best in La Liga, and this has already made his growth clear.”
Sergino Dest looks to have revitalised himself on loan at PSV Eindhoven, and Bojan has been impressed by the full-back’s improvement over the last few weeks.
“He’s having more consistency than before and I think this will be very good for him to grow as a footballer. Even more so at a team like PSV, who are leaders of the Eredivisie.”
Alex Valle is very highly-rated within Barcelona, and Bojan has been pleased with the youngster’s performance while on loan at Segunda side Levante.
“He’s performing very well. He’s had a hamstring injury, and I’ll be coming to see him in two weeks’ time. I’m talking to Quique Alvarez, Levante’s assistant coach, and they’re very happy with him.”
Finally, Bojan spoke on Clement Lenglet, who is the only player on this list that has yet to play regular football so far this season, having joined Aston Villa from Barcelona on the final day of the summer transfer window.
“I haven’t been able to go see him yet, but we’re keeping a close eye on him. He’s not playing much, but I’m confident he’ll be able to turn his situation around. Aston Villa have started the season very well, and the competition is at its highest.”