Frenkie de Jong will be an ‘important player’ for Barcelona this season if he stays, according to Xavi, but the Barca boss admitted he is unsure what the future holds for the Dutch midfielder.
De Jong was left on the bench for Barcelona’s opening game of the new La Liga season on Saturday, a 0-0 draw at home to Rayo Vallecano, but came on for the final 30 minutes.
The Netherlands international’s future has been the subject of rampant speculation throughout the summer, amid interest from Manchester United and Chelsea.
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But Xavi doesn’t intend to leave the playmaker on the sidelines for long if he is still a Blaugrana player when the transfer window closes on September 1.
“De Jong is not a bench player. He is a very important player and I’ve said it many times,” Xavi said.
“He has played very well. He is going to be an important player. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the transfer market, but if he stays with us, he will be an important player.”
The stalemate marked a disappointing start to the campaign for Barca, after a busy summer of transfer activity raised hopes of a title challenge.
Robert Lewandowski made his competitive debut from the start following his move from Bayern Munich, along with fellow new arrivals Raphinha and Andreas Christensen, while Franck Kessie made his bow from the bench.
But Barca were left frustrated by the visitors despite having 68 per cent ball possession and 21 shots to their opponents’ four, and Sergio Busquets was sent off late on after picking up a second yellow.
Asked about Lewandowski’s performance, Xavi said: “I’m satisfied because he works for the team. He gave us a hand for high pressure, he controlled it very well when he was the solution in the build-up.”
“But of course, we needed to be a bit more effective today, and this was the main problem. I’m really happy to have him in the squad, he’s helping the team a lot.
“Today Robert and everybody, we’re really upset because the result wasn’t good, but we’ll keep going and keep doing the process. It’s only a matter of time before he scores, for sure.”
Barcelona’s first away trip of the season is up next, when they face Real Sociedad next Sunday.
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