Barcelona secured a vital advantage over their arch-rivals Real Madrid in the semifinal of the Copa Del Rey after they registered a 1-0 victory at Santiago Bernabeu last night.
One of the driving forces behind Barça’s victory was Frenkie de Jong, with the Dutchman producing one of his best performances of the season and masterfully controlling the midfield throughout the ninety minutes.
According to Reshad Rehman, De Jong’s performance was another indicator of his growing importance in the Barcelona team.
The former Ajax starlet, who was an unwanted prospect in the Barcelona first-team before the season’s start, has become one of the most crucial components in Xavi’s setup this term. He has performed consistently as well, establishing himself as an indispensable figure in the middle of the park.
Rahman claims de Jong is even considered one of the top five players in the Barcelona team. This has resulted in him gaining powers within the squad, which is hardly surprising as Barça eventually look to move out of the leadership of their old guards such as Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto.
Busquets, for one, is likely to depart Camp Nou at the end of the season, which could further accentuate the need for someone like de Jong.
The player himself feels comfortable in Barcelona as well, amid reports suggesting that Manchester United may come looking for him once again in the coming summer.
Should Busquets depart, de Jong would become the seniormost midfielder in the Barcelona squad. This could lead to new responsibilities for the Dutchman, especially with youngsters such as Gavi and Pedri comprising Barça’s rest of the midfield workforce.
However, it will be interesting to see who the club bring in, as part of their plans to reinforce the ranks in midfield. One of the targets is Ilkay Gundogan, with the Catalans reportedly in pole position to sign the German international on a free transfer this summer.