Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed that his club is not interested in selling midfield star Frenkie de Jong in a huge blow to chief suitors Manchester United.
The Red Devils have been pursuing the Netherlands international and repeatedly sent offers for his signature last summer. They were preparing to resurrect their interest in this upcoming January transfer window, but have now been told by the Spanish club that the player is unavailable for transfer.
“In midfield, I have never wanted to sell Frenkie de Jong because he is one of the best players we have,” Laporta told the press via Sportsmail.
“He is one of the great talents, young, and one of the leaders of the team.”
Despite seemingly being on the edge of leaving Camp Nou last season, De Jong has enjoyed a good season in Spain. The midfielder has played 13 of Barcelona’s 14 La Liga games so far this season while he also enjoyed a superb World Cup, playing all of the Netherlands games in their run to the quarter-finals.
For Barcelona, De Jong is expected to become more critical given that long-term club servant Sergio Busquets is close to the end of his time at the Nou Camp. The Spain veteran midfielder has just six months left on his current deal at the club and should be on his way out at the end of the season.
And so, De Jong’s place in the side could become more crucial when Busquets leaves, making his transfer out of the club this January less likely. Should Busquet leave, the 25-year-old De Jong will become the senior figure in the midfield for Xavi’s side, with Gavi and Pedri playing key roles under the former Blaugrana skipper.
Despite being 18 and 20, respectively, both players have featured in every league game for Barcelona this season. They also played crucial roles for Spain in Qatar, earning rave reviews for their technical ability.
Speaking about the duo, Laporta compared them to La Roja and Barca’s legendary partners, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
“Xavi has always been like that. He has never liked to show off. That’s why he said that Pedri and Gavi are better than him and Iniesta,” Laporta said.
“Obviously, the comparison is logical. They play in the same positions and are similar, but they are aware that to reach the level of Iniesta or Xavi, they have to work hard, and that’s where we are.
“Gavi is wilder, and Pedri is more focused. They both have a family environment that has helped them a lot. Their parents are extraordinary.”