Transfer news

Iñaki Peña could be loaned out in the off-season

Iñaki Peña, with Barcelona's Chumi (R) and Oriol Busquets (L) / PERE PUNTÍ/PERE PUNTÍ
Iñaki Peña, with Barcelona’s Chumi (R) and Oriol Busquets (L) / PERE PUNTÍ/PERE PUNTÍ

With little game time ahead of him in the first team, Iñaki Peña could be loaned out to continue his growth as a goalkeeper at a reasonable level.

Barcelona’s squad is lacking depth in some areas, but is well stocked in others. While the defense would not be hurt by further reinforcements, the spot between the sticks belongs to Marc-André ter Stegen.

With the German having been fit for most of his stay in Barcelona thus far, the club’s need for a backup keeper has been a rarity rather than a norm.

Jasper Cillessen barely featured in his last season with the Blaugranas, and as a result was involved in what effectively was a swap deal between him and Valencia keeper Neto, sending the Dutchman to the Mestalla with the Brazilian goalie making his way to the Camp Nou.

Since then, Neto has only had four appearances for Barcelona, one in each competition the club has featured in this season: LaLiga, the Champions League, the Copa del Rey, and the Supercopa which, extraordinarily, was played shortly after the turn of the year.

With Neto’s amount of playing time being very small, it is unlikely that Iñaki Peña, who plays his football in Barcelona’s B team, will have a reasonable amount of time between the sticks should he get officially promoted to the first team.

Knowing this, the club is considering loaning the young goalkeeper out to a second division team, to help him sustain a high level and continue growing, reports SPORT Wednesday afternoon.

The club has a lot of faith in him, and he is liked a lot by the newly appointed manager Quique Setién and his staff, for his agility and physicality in goal. According to the same report, the club even considered keeping him as the backup keeper to ter Stegen, before ultimately signing Neto in the summer.

The club kept him with the B team despite him having the option to leave in January, in hopes of the team being promoted, as it currently is playing its football in the third tier of Spanish football.

The idea now in the club, per SPORT, is to loan the player out to a team in LaLiga SmartBank, Spain’s second division, to help him progress at a level that is neither too high nor too low for the talented goalkeeper.

The player has several clubs in the second division interested, although both Barca and the goalie only will consider offers that will guarantee him a starting spot.

Peña’s current contract with Barcelona runs out in 2021, with the club wanting to renew with him before potentially sending him out on loan. In his contract, there is an option that can be triggered, which will renew his contract for another two years, until 2023.

This option would be triggered with immediate effect, before sending the keeper out on loan, as to avoid losing him after his loan spell. The idea is to keep him long-term, but not halt his progress due to the high level of ter Stegen and a solid backup in Neto.

Should Neto leave, with Barça deciding not to sign a replacement, Peña’s situation could change. The coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly have an influence on the upcoming transfer market, and should Barca look to cash in and at the same time not spend more than necessary, Iñaki Peña could end up staying in Barcelona for both the foreseeable and the distant future.