Frenkie de Jong continued his miserable preseason yesterday amidst Manchester United’s ongoing pursuit.
FC Barcelona played out a 2-2 draw against Juventus in Las Vegas yesterday and the Dutchman put in a poor performance that contributed to the Serie A side’s equaliser.
De Jong was once again used as a second-half substitute, meaning that he has not started a single game on the Catalan giant’s preseason tour.
Not only that, but he has not played a single minute in midfield either.
Using him again as a centre-back, Xavier Hernandez appears to be giving De Jong a window into his coming season should he refuse to slash his wages for a second time.
And with new signing Andreas Christensen joining Gerard Pique and Eric Garcia ahead of the former Ajax player in the pecking order – before considering Barca’s interest in Jules Kounde – the Netherlands international may even start to wonder over his World Cup place.
Louis van Gaal has previously stated that players must be playing regularly for their clubs if they are to play for him, although a cynic might suggest that the Dutch manager only came up with that rule to dissuade Jurrien Timber from moving to Old Trafford.
In any case, a midfielder of De Jong’s quality being a (potentially) fifth choice central defender seems absurd.
Not quite as absurd as failing to pay your employees while trying to spend €213m on new ones, but absurd nonetheless.
While Xavi has spoken positively about De Jong as a centre-back, his use of him seems to be a calculated effort to get him out the door.
And with Barcelona’s La Liga registration deadline ever closer, the next two weeks could see major development in this saga.