Three years ago, specifically in July 2019, Barcelona succeeded in signing one of the most important deals in the world at the time, and it was Frenkie de Jong from Ajax.
The middle of the Barcelona stadium, which had been suffering for years after the departure of Xavi and Iniesta and the great decline of Sergio Busquets, began to breathe a sigh of relief again in the presence of De Jong and Artur before the Brazilian level declined.
But since the beginning of this year, we have heard the news about the Barcelona administration’s desire to get rid of the player, whether for the large salary that he costs them or for the huge amount that he is able to pump into the Catalan club’s coffers for his transfer.
But between that and that, and in light of statements from the Barcelona and Xavi administration, accusations from Gary Neville, and news here and there, Xavi Hernandez came out and pushed De Jong as a defensive center in the preparatory matches.
Is that initiative from Xavi hidden meaning? Is he trying to keep the player away from the Catalan club by placing him in a position other than his position? That is what we will try to understand.
But to understand this well, we have to look at whether the center of defense is foreign to Frenkie de Jong? Has he played in it before?
The answer to this is yes, De Jong has played in that position with Ajax, the Netherlands national team and Barcelona before, under the leadership of several coaches.
The beginning was with coach Marcel Kaiser in Ajax, then Ronald Koeman and even Ernesto Valverde and other coaches.
Shall I give you more poetry? Eric Ten Hag, the current coach of Manchester United, who insists on the inclusion of De Jong, has previously used him in that position and in crucial and important matches against Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven and others in the Dutch league and the Champions League.
Important technical change?
Some may wonder, then, why this change in positions, as long as it is not related to attempts by the Catalan club to “smother” the player and get rid of his high salary?
The answer here, we will only find with Xavi Hernandez, the coach of the Catalan club, who pushed him into that position, unfortunately, at the same time, which witnessed a lot of controversy over his future.
But according to what journalist Javi Miguel of the newspaper “AS” confirmed, Xavi Hernandez intends to play 3-4-3 on several occasions this season, with the presence of the trio Ronald Araujo, Jules Conde and Andreas Christensen.
As confirmed by numerous reports, Xavi does not intend to rely on Gerard Pique, so it is logical that De Jong should be prepared as an alternative to one of his team’s three main defenders.
Did Xavi undergo?
One of the hypotheses that has been circulated in the last hours, and even by some Barcelona fans, is that Xavi Hernandez submitted to the club’s management in order to put pressure on the player.
In fact, these hypotheses are supported by the coach’s previous statements about De Jong’s salary, statements that confirm that he is in agreement with the management about the financial situation surrounding the player.
But in light of the new financial structure that Barcelona is trying to impose on the dressing rooms, it may be somewhat justified, if we assume that those speculations are correct in the first place.
Which in the end may be a little difficult in light of the strong personality of the former captain of the Catalan club and his obtaining all the deals he asked for so far in the transfer market, his refusal to substitute alternatives, and the administration’s subjection to his choices, even if they are sometimes illogical for them.
Was Gary Neville right?
Manchester United legend Gary Neville came out to talk about Frenkie de Jong this week, and confirmed that what the player is being exposed to from the Catalan club’s management is a disgrace.
Neville asked the player to take legal steps through which he could sue Barcelona and get his late salary, but he met with a lot of criticism on social media.
But whether we agree or disagree with the criticism and Neville’s words, is he right in his opinion in the Barcelona administration, that what you are doing with De Jong is a disgrace?
He may be right, but de Jong is a player in a battalion of players who postponed the dates of receiving their salaries with Barcelona during the Corona virus period, so the Catalan club has not done anything illegal so far, on what basis will the prosecution take place?
De Jong has the right to sue Barcelona in only one case, which is that the club reduces his salary to a large degree, according to what Article 41 of the Spanish Labor Law indicates, and at that time the law may stand even on Barcelona’s side if it is proven that the club is unable to pay the salary stipulated in the contract.
De Jong played as a central defender who did not violate any international law and it cannot be predicted that things such as Xavi’s character is weak or that the Barcelona administration wants to push the player out, especially that they are the same people who repeated his praise and their desire to continue with the team.
But it may have some significance for the way the team plays in the new season, or for De Jong’s remarkable ability to adapt in several positions.
In the end, the Catalan club may already be trying to push De Jong to leave or to reduce his salary, but even in that case, what is the problem with each team looking for its interests to reconcile its situation at a time when it is far from competition and looking for a return to the image?
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