In the week where Frenkie de Jong will be finally officially unveiled at Barcelona, social media is, once more awash with theories of where his best position is, who he’s going to replace in the starting line up etc.
For many Cules, there’s no question whatsoever that he must go straight into Ernesto Valverde’s XI from the get go.
From his performances at Ajax, in many respects it’s difficult to disagree with that standpoint but, with respect, the Eredivisie isn’t La Liga.
De Jong has been surrounded by players that he’s stood alongside for three years, and in a system where he’s often been the fulcrum.
I’d suggest that it’s highly unlikely that Valverde is going to afford him that luxury from the first match of the campaign, and the manager shouldn’t be dug out for that either.
If reports are to be believed, he has to firstly somehow shoe horn Neymar, Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi into the same front line.
Where does that then leave Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, assuming their status quo remains?
Not to mention, a reduced three-man midfield if Valverde were to stick with an ultra-attacking quartet.
Arthur, Arturo Vidal, Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto, Riqui Puig, Carles Alena and De Jong would all be vying for those positions, meaning it’s far from a foregone conclusion that the latter will step right up immediately.
The cream always rises to the top of course, and there’s no doubting the Dutchman’s quality. He’s a throwback to the type of player that Cules adore too, and will quickly become a real fan favourite.
However, at just 22 years of age, he’s got plenty of time to impress and, frankly, at this juncture, there’s no need to rush things.
Frenkie de Jong will arrive in Barcelona on Thursday at 18:00. He will then undergo the standard protocol of visiting the FCBotiga around 21:00. On Friday, De Jong will get up early to undergo medical tests. Later that day, at 18:00, his presentation is scheduled. [md] pic.twitter.com/JZMa0av4Wn— barcacentre (@barcacentre) July 1, 2019
The thought of him forming a midfield alongside the likes of Arthur and Puig in future is a mouth-watering one, but he has to be given the chance to adapt.
How many times before, and not just at Barca, have ‘big money’ signings taken a while to settle? All manner of things need to be considered.
New country, new surroundings, new team-mates... and though the style of football is ostensibly the same as he’s been used to, there are still nuances to take into account.
❗ Official: There's a new #21 in the building, and his name is Frenkie de Jong!— Omar ️ (@Blaugranagram) July 2, 2019
ℹ️ This photo was allegedly taken in the club's official store, where these shirts have been put up for sale.
Welkom Frenkie! pic.twitter.com/lpkjtwENFD
Far better for him to be given a few months to bed in, than expecting miracles straight off the bat.
Even the likes of Messi, Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andres Iniesta - who were schooled at La Masia - were given time to adapt.
De Jong must be afforded the same courtesy.