Why did Barcelona allow Dest to leave for AC Milan? Koeman puzzled by transfer call on USMNT defender
- Full-back signed by Dutch coach
- Struggled to make an impact at Camp Nou
- Spending 2022-23 campaign in Italy
WHAT HAPPENED? The United States international moved to Camp Nou from Eredivisie giants Ajax in 2020, but struggled to convince those in Catalunya of his worth across 72 appearances at right-back. He was allowed to link up with the reigning Serie A champions as a result, but Koeman – who took Dest to Barca – believes the 22-year-old USMNT star remains a better defensive option for the Blaugrana than Sergi Roberto.
WHAT THEY SAID: Koeman, who was sacked as Barcelona boss in October 2021, has told Andy van der Meijde’s YouTube channel: “Dest isn’t any worse than Roberto. I didn’t understand him leaving.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Baca were happy to part with Dest in 2022, they ended up retaining the services of Frenkie de Jong. The classy midfielder has impressed after snubbing interest from Manchester United, and his international coach is delighted to see the 25-year-old winning over any doubters. Koeman, who is back in charge of the Netherlands national team, said of De Jong: “Frenkie is great. I think he’ll stay. He’s deservedly playing so much.”
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WHAT NEXT? Dest has been enduring a tough time with Milan, taking in just 14 appearances this season, but De Jong has helped Barca to the top of the Liga table and through to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, as well as the knockout play-off round of the Europa League.