The summer transfer window was a tumultuous one for Frenkie de Jong as Barcelona tried hard to offload the midfielder in order to rake in some cash as well as reduce their wage bill. But the 25-year-old dug his heels in and did not give in to pressure from the club.
Barça had reached an agreement with Manchester United to sell de Jong. There were also talks of a legal proceeding to nullify his current contract and move him back to the original deal that he had signed when he arrived at the club back in 2019.
The Dutchman was being played out of position in pre-season and even struggled for minutes once the campaign started. Despite everything, de Jong stuck to his guns and remained at the club instead of opting for a way out.
And, the decision is starting to reap rewards, not only for the player but also for Barcelona. Indeed, the 25-year-old has been one of the Catalans’ best players over the past few weeks and has been key to their rise to the top of the La Liga standings.
So much so that, SPORT is now reporting that manager Xavi Hernandez is ‘delighted’ with de Jong and sees him as an essential part of his system at Spotify Camp Nou.
It was not very long ago that it was speculated that Barcelona wanted to move on de Jong and replace him with Bernardo Silva. While the links with the latter continue to do the rounds, the Netherlands star has turned his situation around in a spectacular fashion.
Despite starting the season behind Pedri, Gavi and Sergio Busquets, the former AFC Ajax ace has forced his way into Xavi’s plans with admirable displays, be it as an interior midfielder or operating in the pivot role when Busquets is being given a break.
The report states that Xavi has been impressed with de Jong as he is starting to understand the role he needs to play in this Barça setup and is showing more leadership and more personality. Along with that his line-breaking runs and exceptional vision have also left a mark on the manager.
Having started just one of Barcelona’s first four La Liga games of the season, de Jong has been part of the starting lineup in eight of the last ten league matches, including each of the previous six. He missed one game due to injury.
This is a sign of his increased prominence in Xavi’s plans and even though the interest from Manchester United continues to persist, it is hard to see Barcelona wanting to cash in on him now that he is finally showing his true potential.