Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong appears to have found himself being pushed down the pecking order at Barcelona amidst further transfer speculation, according to Spanish reports.
The midfielder, who has been hotly tipped to leave the Catalan giants, may well have to fight for a place in the team next season if he stays.
United are looking to De Jong to bolster a midfield left short after numerous departures, while Barcelona have an array of talent in the same area.
Nonetheless, the Catalans intend to replace the Dutchman should he sign for United.
“He is no longer a priority footballer in planning for next season and the possibility that he will be transferred is increasing,” Mundo Deportivo reports.
“Of course, his departure is conditional on being able to sign a player in his position who improves his performance, because Xavi does not want to further weaken the level of the squad.
“And the player who would convince the coach if he loses De Jong is Bernardo Silva.”
With young stars such as Gavi and Pedri fast becoming fan favourites, De Jong may well find himself struggling for game time.
Head coach Xavi has limited funds after Barcelona’s financial troubles and wages are also having an impact.
De Jong is reportedly the Spanish club’s highest earner, pocketing approximately €411,000 (£350,000) per week.
United however could find themselves short in the same area following the departures of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata.
And United manager Erik ten Hag sees his former player as the man to build his new look midfield around.
The Red Devils hope to lure De Jong away from Spain with a bid of around €80m (£68m).
With the 25 year old’s experience under Ten Hag at former club Ajax, United hope he’ll hit the ground running should he be persuaded to make the switch to Manchester.