The coach has used the Dutchman there on the three occasions Busi has sat out
Barcelona have played eight games this season. Sergio Busquets is key for Xavi but the coach knows he cannot play them all. At 34, he has to rest. So he did not play against Plzen or Elche. He was also suspended at Anoeta.
In those three games, Xavi has been clear. The player at the base of the midfield is Frenkie de Jong, who did well against Elche this weekend.
He moved the team along and was key in the red card, with his pass to Lewandowski causing panic and Verdu was sent off for his cynical foul.
De Jong showed he can fight to start in midfield. Valverde, Setien and Koeman all used De Jong there when Busquets was out.
“I see him more as an interior but can adapt to the position of pivot,” said Xavi. “I see him on the face of the game. When he’s got the ball at his feet he’s spectacular, he has to divide teams and he does it well, he’s strong physically and he can play the last pass.”
However with Pedri and Gavi doing so well, De Jong’s time is coming in the pivot role.
He has all season to convince Xavi that he can replace Busquets at the end of the season in that position when his contract is up. He will have to convince the board to stop trying to sell him too…
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