De Jong reveals why he snubbed Man Utd transfer & opens up on reduced role at Barcelona
- Man Utd and Chelsea wanted Dutchman
- De Jong ultimately stayed at Barcelona
- Only started four of eight games in 2022-23
WHAT HAPPENED? De Jong was the subject of intense transfer interest from Manchester United throughout the summer, with Chelsea also eventually throwing their hat in the ring. Barcelona were inclined to sell to ease their ongoing financial woes and even agreed a deal with United, but the midfielder ultimately remained at Camp Nou having previously insisted he wanted to stay put. However, the 25-year-old has since found his game time limited.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to NOS on international duty with the Netherlands, De Jong revealed when and why he decided to stay at Barcelona, saying: "I had already decided in May that I wanted to stay. So I was very calm myself. I now feel welcome at the club. Nothing has ever changed with my teammates."
He added on his lack of regular minutes in a press conference: "I didn't start against Bayern in the Champions League. You want to play important games. When I play less, I do notice it. Not really in terms of the technical aspect because you still know how to play football, but more so in the physical aspect."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Dutchman has started just four of eight games for Barca in all competitions this season and is evidently already frustrated with his lack of game time. However, head coach Xavi may not be in any rush to change things with his side unbeaten in La Liga so far having conceded just once in six matches.
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WHAT NEXT FOR DE JONG? While he may not be starting regularly at club level, De Jong remains a key player for his country and will be hoping to make an impression in upcoming Nations League clashes against Poland and Belgium.