Frenkie de Jong came off the bench for Barcelona against Real Madrid to play center back.
Barcelona fans believe the club is attempting to send a message to Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong after Xavi again played the central midfielder out of position in a pre-season encounter.
De Jong, 25, remains United’s top priority this summer, despite the fact that talks about a potential transfer have stalled. Under newly hired manager Erik ten Hag, United have recruited Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, and Lisandro Martinez as part of their rebuild.
Ten Hag, on the other hand, is after guiding the Netherlands international for 18 months with Ajax when the player exploded onto the European stage. De Jong joined Barcelona three years ago, and United had agreed on an agreement in principle with the cash-strapped Catalan giants.
Although talks about his transfer have been ongoing for about three months, De Jong flew to the United States with his Barcelona colleagues for their pre-season tour. However, in the last two games, the former Ajax graduate has been utilised as a centre-back when coming off the bench.
That was the case in the early hours of the morning when Barcelona faced Real Madrid on the Las Vegas strip.
And course, United fans kept a close eye on that match, which was won 1-0 by Barcelona’s summer addition Raphinha. But it was De Jong who seized center stage, especially as he continued in an unusual role, with Barcelona manager Xavi preferring other players in central midfield.
On Twitter, United fans made the following reactions to the decision:
When u have 3 CB’s in your squad yet you opted to play #dejong as CB shows how much you are waiting him to leave from the club
— Logu Eswar (@Imlogesh1) July 24, 2022
— GeesiUTD (@SalanYare23) July 24, 2022
— United Chatter (@ChatterUnited) July 24, 2022