One of Erik ten Hag’s first tasks as new Manchester United boss was to reinvigorate the midfielder after losing quite a few top names in the summer.
The Dutchman had earmarked Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong as the ideal candidate, someone who can control the tempo of the game with his crisp passing while also being adept at the defensive side of things.
The De Jong saga lasted more than three months and included twists and turns galore. Ultimately, a mixture of deferred wages and the player’s desire to stay back meant United failed to complete the deal despite agreeing a fee with the Catalan giants.
FDJ struggling at Barca
The same cannot be said of the Dutch midfielder. Since the new season started, he has failed to become a regular in Xavi’s first-team plans and rumours of a potential sale next summer have already started rumbling.
According to SPORT, the Netherlands international is “disgusted” with his current situation as he has started only three times in the league.
To top it off, Xavi prefers the triumvirate of Sergio Busquests, Gavi and Pedri when it comes to the most important games.
He did not start against Sevilla in La Liga as well as against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in the Champions League. It looks increasingly unlikely that he will start in the El Classico up next.
The report adds that “Manchester United has been maintaining contacts” with the Catalan giants and will be open to doing a deal next summer as Ten Hag still sees his compatriot as a crucial component of his project.
Utd ready to pounce
Xavi does not think De Jong can fill the boots of Busquets and hence the club could be open to a sale next June if things do not improve.
The 25-year-old, on his part, is still determined to be a success at the Camp Nou outfit but is aware of his current reality.
If the former Ajax player continues to be ignored ahead of the World Cup, his “displeasure will increase”, increasing the likelihood of a move next summer.
Ten Hag knows the importance of having a ball-playing midfielder in his ranks and would ask the club to pursue his former player’s signature once again.
Fans will be wary of the deal after having sat through three months of misleading reports and the club’s bundling of a seemingly easy deal.