Barcelona made a thinly-veiled attempt to sell Frenkie de Jong this summer and the Dutch midfielder kept his counsel for many months. Finally he has made his feelings clear on the matter though.
Speaking to Dutch paper De Telegraaf, de Jong did not mention Barcelona President Joan Laporta by name, but explained that relations between him and the hierarchy at the club had effectively been torched.
“I blame these people [those at Barça who wanted him out], but I have nothing to do with them. Yes, they are Barça for me because they lead the club. But I don’t see them when I’m at the club. I have nothing to do with them in my daily life.”
“One day a paper published details from my contract. I didn’t leak it and only one other party knew about this, so it had to be the club who did this.”
“Suddenly there was a letter in which the question was asked whether my contract was still valid, because the previous President made the contract. I found it very annoying that the club did this, but I had no further influence on things.”
De Jong started off the season on the bench but has played his way back into the starting XI under Xavi Hernandez in October. Despite starting just 4 of the opening 7 matches, he was crucial in the home straight before the World Cup. It was de Jong that provided the crucial assist to leave Barcelona top of La Liga too.
Even with the pressure on him, he did not hold anything against his manager Xavi though.
“He left the possibility of my departure open as he never came out and said: ‘Frenkie is staying no matter the financial situation’, but I really don’t put the blame on Xavi.”
“I never got the feeling that Xavi was against me. To the media he said that he was happy with me but that there’s also the financial part of the club. I think it was difficult for him to speak about this. He is not the one making these decisions.”
In spite of the media campaign against him, which placed the guilt on him for some of Barcelona’s financial issues and painted him as greedy, he is now back in the good books with Barcelona fans. Various surveys have showed in recent weeks that Culers are heavily in favour of keeping de Jong.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Barcelona board will try to force him out again though, which this interview will not have helped. Equally, if de Jong maintains a high level of performance, those who want him out will have a hard time justifying it.