The Dutchman has faced a lot of criticism this season after some series of underwhelming performances. Barcelona paid €75M plus 11 M add-ons in 2019 to seal his transfer from Ajax. However, his time at Barcelona hasn’t been a happy journey despite his knowledge and technical abilities, which suits the identity of a Barcelona player.
Since his arrival, Barcelona hasn’t won a single ElClasico. This statistic highlights how bad Barcelona have been in recent ElClasico’s but shadowed the underwhelming performances from players as Lionel Messi took major criticism. On such occasions, fans have higher expectations, especially from the senior players, to perform at their best. One of such players is Frenkie De Jong. With his background at Ajax, fans had high hopes for a promising talent who had an excellent season at Ajax.
But after the end of his debut season, despite getting praised by managers, De Jong didn’t perform at his personal best. Overall, Barcelona had a season to forget in his debut season, which might have decreased his morale. After Ronald Koeman’s appointment, it was expected that De Jong would thrive under his guidance as he did for the Netherlands National Team under Koeman.
After mixing tactics at the start of the season, Koeman finally got the solution that would bring the best out of the 24-year-old. De Jong had an excellent start to 2021 in terms of goalscoring. De Jong had regained his form and was thriving in his role at the club. Barcelona finished 3rd in LaLiga, but De Jong scored in the Copa Del Rey final to win his first trophy at Barca.
However, things changed when Nico and Gavi came into the picture. Koeman trusted the youngsters, and they didn’t disappoint either. Gavi’s brilliant performances got him his maiden national team call-up and a debut against Italy in the UEFA Nations League. On the other hand, Nico didn’t attract any attention, but his performances improved game by game. With Nico and Gavi’s growth, De Jong’s place in the starting XI was threatened and was even dropped in some matches.
De Jong’s worst performance of the season came in this season’s first ElClasico when every fan anticipates a top-rated performance from the players. De Jong was nowhere to be seen in the whole game as Real Madrid controlled the tempo of the game. It was just the beginning of a poor run of form for the Dutchman, though. Xavi was appointed, and many believed that he would revive his career due to his experience as a midfielder himself.
Xavi’s change of system was visible, and so was the growth in youngsters. Nico and Gavi have even scored their first goals for the senior team. Despite these changes, Xavi is yet to find the perfect role for De Jong. In last month’s 3-2 win against Elche, Nico and Gavi yet again proved their worth and got their names on the score sheet, but De Jong recorded yet another underwhelming display. As a result, fans expressed their dissatisfaction as they whistled the player while he was being subbed off.
“De Jong has given us things. He has perhaps not been as fluid as Gavi or Nico today, but he is making an amazing effort. He has had discomfort all week. It is a matter of fatigue because it has played practically every minute,” Xavi said.
His technical ability is superb, but he doesn’t do a lot with it. His inability to connect the midfield and attack and poor defending are concerning for Xavi and Barcelona. A player who had the potential to become one of the best midfielders in the world has lost his identity. After Pedri’s recovery, De Jong will have a tough time finding his place in the XI.
After last night’s half-time snub against Real Madrid, it is evident that Xavi, too, is running out of patience over his underperforming displays. Barcelona will agree to offload the player if any club comes up with a huge offer.
According to his father, John De Jong, up to five clubs are interested in his signature. “Of course, I know that Barcelona needs money, and a great offer for Frenkie could help, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
“Although, five top European clubs have all called.
“They (De Jong and his partner Mikky Kiemeney) are having such a great time in Barcelona.”
However, De Jong isn’t interested in a move away from Barcelona and wants to fight for his place at Barca. De Jong has a lot to do if he wishes to overcome his teammates. Only time will tell if he can bounce back from this situation as clouds loom over his future at Camp Nou.