Why Barcelona vs. Man United is the Frenkie de Jong game

It’s a question that’s been asked so often since the summer transfer window, but at least this time Frenkie de Jong’s girlfriend, Mickey Kemeny, had the answer.

After a summer of rumors that De Jong could move to Manchester United, she was asked during an Instagram Q&A: “When is Frankie coming to Manchester?” Her tongue-in-cheek response – “23-2, probably” – was a reference to Barcelona’s Europa League match against United at the Camp Nou on Thursday before the second leg at Old Trafford on 23 February.

Despite the best efforts of United and manager Erik ten Hag last summer, De Jong will play for Barcelona, ​​although they remain hopeful of seeing the Dutch midfielder in red in the future. But what happened last summer with this transfer saga and what has happened since then? How big of a role will he play in this Europa League fixture and will Manchester United try to re-sign the 25-year-old this summer?

De Jong in good form at Barcelona

De Jong’s time at Barca was riddled with controversy. For starters, what is his best role? When the Dutch player arrived in 2019, many mistakenly expected him to be the heir to veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets. However, some of De Jong’s best qualities don’t lend themselves well to starting a midfield trio, and several of his coaches have pointed it out at Ajax and Barça.

Ten Hag, still in charge of Ajax, said that De Jong “leaves the middle of the field too often”. [to be the sole defensive midfielder]He said if you don’t give him the freedom to move forward, you won’t get the most out of him. For example, the 2021 Copa del Rey final, when he was asked to take a risk and get into the box, he scored in this final, and it seemed that his career at the Camp Nou was finally taking off.

De Jong was the favorite under Koeman and while the sacking of his Dutch compatriot, who was sacked in October 2021 after a poor start to the season, could be seen as a negative, the appointment of Javi Hernandez was a positive. too much. Xavi was one of Barça’s best midfielders and was seen as a manager capable of taking De Jong’s game to the next level. However, there were problems with teething – not only for De Jong, but also for other players.

Xavi never named names, but said that there are players who do not understand what he teaches. “[The players] didn’t work on positional play and we defend differently than under the previous coach.” He said in December 2021. “We don’t understand how we want to play football. It’s strange that there are Barça players who don’t understand positional play.”

De Jong has been regularly sacked at the start of games, leading to the conclusion last summer that for such a correct transfer fee, he could be considered redundant at the Camp Nou.

For his part, Xavi expressed support for the player but never ruled out leaving. “There is a sporting situation and a financial situation,” he said when asked about De Jong.

Meanwhile, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has taken an interest in United and although Laporta will now deny it, sources at the time confirmed to Sportzshala that Barcelona would be willing to transfer De Jong to Old Trafford for a fee of around €85m. . Apart from the cash gain from such a fee, Barça would also be free of De Jong’s salary, which is one of the highest in the team and increases every year due to a deferral agreement signed at his renewal to help the club cut costs. in the short term.

De Jong had other ideas. Sources close to the player have never deviated from the line that he wants to stay at Barcelona. He eventually stayed, but not without collateral damage. He has since spoken of his annoyance at the way the club’s hierarchy handles the issue: “I blame these people for [the Barca hierarchy]but I have nothing to do with them, ”but his recent performances in the new linebacker four help everyone to get rid of any grudges left from last summer. — Marsden

Manchester United side: why they wanted De Jong

When Ten Hag took the job at Old Trafford in the spring of 2022, he made it clear that signing a central midfielder was his priority. De Jong, who worked with Ten Hag for a couple of seasons at Ajax before moving to Barcelona in 2019, was quickly identified as one of his top targets, especially as United became aware that Barcelona ‘ will be open to a deal in an effort to alleviate their financial worries.

The two clubs made significant progress while negotiating a deal and at one stage, after United football director John Murtaugh flew to Spain, they came to a broad agreement. However, money owed by the Spanish side to De Jong after he agreed to defer wages in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic has caused a major problem. Sources close to United claim they wouldn’t have pursued De Jong as much if they didn’t have the backing that he’s ready to move, though most of the player’s public comments about a potential move suggest otherwise.

When it became clear last summer that De Jong was out, United turned to Casemiro as their central midfielder, with the Brazil and Real Madrid star arriving in late August for a reported fee of £60m plus add-ons. It worked well, the Brazilian has already become one of the standout players of this season. But despite the arrival of Casemiro, United have never completely ruled out a renewed interest in De Jong and the club believed he would be available again in the summer.

Ten Hag’s priorities in the transfer market have changed and it is likely that signing a striker will be his priority next season, but he has made no secret of his desire to sign De Jong. Likewise, United would certainly look into him again if it became clear he was leaving the Camp Nou. — Dawson

Can De Jong play a decisive role in these Europa League matches?

This week De Jong will take on a club he could have joined last summer as one of Barça’s most trained players. Xavi recently switched from a 4-3-3 formation to a 4-4-2 formation, where midfielder Gavi acts as a false left winger, creating superiority in midfield.

This change helped De Jong to shine. With Busquets by his side – although the Barça captain is in high doubt with United’s draw due to a sprained ankle – he has the freedom to attack without fear of leaving space behind him. In Gavi and Pedri, he has two of the best young midfielders in the world and as a result has been instrumental in Barça’s 16-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.

Perhaps De Jong’s best performance is the way he races forward with the ball as space opens up in front of him and his opponents can’t keep up, but there are technical details as well. His subtle pass to Robert Lewandowski against Villarreal at the weekend earned him a goal. He is furious at pressing Barça and has the energy to defend against counterattacks.

In many ways, De Jong is the modern version of the Barcelona midfielder, working from box to box. There’s little he can’t do though interview with Sportzshala he talked about wanting to keep improving.

“I think I can improve my long range a lot,” he said. “I can score more goals. I don’t think that’s the most important thing for a midfielder, especially with my style of play, but I can score more goals. for protection.”

De Jong’s performances shouldn’t come as a surprise either. He was a star in the Ajax Champions League semi-final in 2019 and always remains the best player in the Netherlands, but after more than three years at the Camp Nou questions were being asked. Sticking to his position and remaining last summer, he came on as a substitute in three of the first four league games this season. It is now inconceivable that he would be left on the bench unless he is resting.

De Jong has played 90 minutes in each of Barca’s last five games ahead of Thursday and United, especially Ten Hag, need no reminder of the threat he poses. — Marsden

Will Manchester United try again this summer?

United’s priority in the summer transfer window is to sign a high-level striker, but Ten Hag’s stance on De Jong is that the door is “not closed”.

From United’s point of view, a lot will depend on Barcelona’s financial situation and whether De Jong wants to move to Old Trafford, but Ten Hag still sees the 25-year-old midfielder as one of the best midfielders in the world, especially because of his passing ability – and that he will complement what Ten Hag already has on the team.

It’s also possible that both Fred and Scott McTominay could leave, although this is far from certain. Ten Hag is also an avid fan of Jude Bellingham, but there is a sense that Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid are leading the race to sign him if, as expected, he leaves Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.

As ownership of the club hangs in the air and financial fair play becomes more of an issue, the budget available for Ten Hag and the recruiting team is not set in stone. Most of the money will go to the striker – Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Brentford’s Ivan Toni are among the targets being monitored – but if there’s a chance of getting De Jong too, Ten Hag won’t wants to pass. it’s up.

Josep Guardiola is another De Jong fan and Manchester City have considered a move in the past, but even if they may be looking for a midfielder in the summer, they are unlikely to rekindle their interest. — Dawson

Barcelona view: De Jong is more important than ever

The combination of several factors changed Barcelona’s view of De Jong. Firstly, their move to the midfield four, which makes him arguably as important as ever since he joined…


Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker