Barcelona opinion: Where should De Jong play next season?
Barcelona might have endured a horrific end to the 2018/19 campaign, losing out on the treble and getting away with just the La Liga title.
Yet, the Catalans have a silver lining in their colours named Frenkie de Jong, who they acquired from Ajax earlier this year.
The Dutch prospect, regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation, is stepping into a club where greats like Xavi, Andres Iniesta had their names etched in the club’s history.
It didn’t take more than a season for the 22-year-old Frenkie De Jong to get his name on the bigger picture, which later saw him sign for Barca in a €75m deal, a club looks tailor-made for him.
The biggest conundrum for Ernesto Valverde would be to find the best place for De Jong in the line-up since he can play at various positions. Here are the two best positions in which Barca can use the ex-Ajax prodigy next season.
The position which he is much familiar with, a position where De Jong played last season is central midfield.
De Jong would be an ideal fit to fill the shoes of the Croatian world cup star, and teaming up with Arthur and Sergio Busquets is the best-case scenario for both the Dutch prodigy and Valverde.
Defensive midfielder (pivot/double pivot)
Erik ten Hag, Ajax’s manager, deployed De jong as one of the double pivots for the crucial games in the Champions League last term and he responded with some breathtaking displays against Juventus and Real Madrid in the knock-out stages.
If such is the case at Nou Camp, Valverde can use De Jong and Busquets as the double pivot, with the latter acting as a screen/holding midfielder.
There is another permutation where De Jong can play as a fulcrum in a 3-man midfield, which would see Busquets relinquish his place.
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It would work either way as Busquets has entered his 30’s and only has two or three fine years in his career.
De Jong is an indispensable asset of Barca for years to come and Valverde should get a good understanding of the Dutch talent ahead of the new season.