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Frenkie de Jong slotting seamlessly into Barcelona’s midfield

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Simple but effective

Vissel Kobe v Barcelona - Preseason Friendly Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images

We might’ve only seen him for 90 minutes of pre-season so far, but that’s been enough to convince many people of Frenkie de Jong’s suitability in Barcelona’s midfield.

Constantly involved, particularly in the second half against Vissel Kobe, he is already making his mark and ticking things over nicely.

Much like former Blaugrana great, Andres Iniesta, the Dutchman is always looking to play on the front foot and isn’t one for the spectacular. Where the simple ball is required, he’ll play it. Every time.

As a Cruyff disciple, we’d expect no less.

It was Iniesta himself who described De Jong to Mundo Deportivo as “an exceptional signing, an upward leap for the club, young, very talented and, if all goes well, will be a benchmark for the Barcelona midfield.”

That’s some statement coming so early in the midfielder’s Barca career but game always recognises game.

There’s an ease and fluidity to De Jong’s movement and passing range, and he’s the type of player that makes those around him better.

His little give and goes against Vissel were a regular feature, and always with the intention of moving forward. In that regard, perhaps Arthur could learn something.

The Brazilian was excellent in his first season at the Camp Nou, but if there was one area that could be improved it was his lack of forward passing as he often preferred to play it square or back.

With De Jong settling so quickly into his rhythm, it will be interesting to see what Ernesto Valverde does with him - and Arthur - at the start of the season.

At this stage, there’s a clear overbooking in that area of the pitch, albeit that could be alleviated by player sales in due course.

Regardless, the youngster will have every right to be considered as a regular starter if his performances against Arsenal and Napoli match those against Vissel and Chelsea.

Another factor that I like and which underscores his game is his evident enjoyment at playing for Barcelona. There appears to be genuine happiness at having made the leap from Amsterdam to Catalonia, and a real desire to learn.

In this day and age, when it seems that all players want to do is move on for ever more astronomical salaries and transfer fees, it’s hugely refreshing to encounter a player who has his head screwed on.

With more players from Pep’s ‘golden era’ slowly coming to the end of their long and distinguished careers too, ensuring that the right talent is identified and secured for the long-term is imperative.

De Jong’s presence will at least allow us all to sleep that little bit easier.