Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Frenkie de Jong: Barcelona U-turn gives Man Utd and Liverpool clue over 2023 transfer

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong

Xavi’s recent comments following a resounding Barcelona victory have offered Man Utd and Liverpool a clear clue regarding a transfer in 2023.

The future of Frenkie de Jong continues to be a subject that won’t go away. Manchester United installed the Dutch maestro as their primary midfield target last summer.

A chase that spanned almost the entire length of the window unfolded, though despite agreeing a £72m deal with Barcelona, De Jong would not move.

The midfielder wished to stay right where he was after settling well in the city. Despite the club’s best efforts to shift him to aid their financial troubles, a deal did not come to pass.

Manchester United went on to sign Casemiro, while Christian Eriksen has done a fine job as chief string-puller instead.

Liverpool, meanwhile, had their own midfield issues and all three of Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are out of contract next summer.

Jude Bellingham is their primary target, though the Dortmund ace is likely to cost more than Barcelona want for De Jong and competition is fiercer.

As such, De Jong has repeatedly been touted as a Reds target in the weeks and months since the summer window closed.

The Daily Mail recently highlighted three reasons why a De Jong deal is more likely in January than it was last window.

What’s more, the biggest barrier to a transfer – De Jong’s refusal to move – could subside given his unhappiness at how he’s been treated by the club.

He’s been overlooked for selection for most of Barcelona’s biggest fixtures this season. A midfield trio of Sergio Busquets flanked by Gavi and Pedri has been Xavi’s preferred choice.

However, in a crucial clash against Villarreal on Thursday night, Xavi performed a U-turn and gave De Jong the nod.

Xavi brings Frenkie de Jong in from the cold

By all accounts, the Dutchman excelled and was a key factor in Barca cruising to a 3-0 win.

He completed 75 passes at a 95 percent completion rate. Furthermore, he won nine of nine ground duels, completed nine recoveries and won four of five attempted tackles.

Reacting to De Jong’s display post-match, Xavi dropped a hint the midfielder is firmly back in his plans. If De Jong is, he’s unlikely to push for a move in 2023.

“Frenkie was very good,” said Xavi (via BarcaUniversal). “He really enjoyed the game, he understood it very well and he played a very complete game. I’m happy for him.”

When asked if De Jong convinced him enough to warrant further starts in the pivot role, Xavi’s completed the U-turn.

“Yes, of course, especially defensively,” replied Xavi.

“He knew what to do, he was in the right position with Pedri and Gavi.

“He knew when to press and when to defend.”

Fabrizio Romano has repeatedly insisted United do retain an interest in De Jong. However, he’s also acknowledged that unless De Jong changes his stance, a deal is unlikely to happen.

If De Jong is truly back in favour at the Camp Nou, any hopes of a move to Old Trafford or Anfield in 2023 are virtually nil.

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