In amongst all of the headlines that the club have been generating over the last 18 months, Frenkie de Jong’s outstanding performances have often dipped under the radar.
The Dutchman is a compelling watch most weeks and remains the conduit between defence and attack.
As he’s already shown at Euro 2020 with the Netherlands, at 24, he is a vital component for club and country.
To think that the best is still yet to come from him is a mouth-watering prospect. He can literally do it all.
5 - Frenkie de Jong completed five dribbles in consecutive #EURO2020 games, the last five players to do so in consecutive European Championship games:— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 17, 2021
Frenkie de Jong (2021)
Franck Ribéry (2012)
Cristiano Ronaldo (2004)
Zinedine Zidane (2000)
Luís Figo (2000)
What a shame then that there aren’t too many ‘Team Frenkie’ cheerleaders as it were. Barca fans should be shouting his name from the rooftops week in and week out.
If there’s a player breaking through the lines a la Don Andres Iniesta, chances are it will be Frenkie.
If Barca need someone to put their foot in where it hurts and do the dirty work in the Busquets mould, Frenkie’s your man.
And, when there’s a need to fill in at the back... you’ve guessed it. It’s no wonder that Rafael van Der Vaart believes he might be the best Dutch player ever in his position.
Rafael van der Vaart loves Frenkie de Jong, ""The man ... It is unbelievable what he shows. In his position, for the defence, I think he is perhaps the best player the Netherlands has ever had." (NOS)— Dutch Football (@FootballOranje_) June 18, 2021
High praise indeed, but certainly justifiable in many respects.
Countryman Johan Cruyff would probably edge him in truth, but it’s hard to think of another Dutch player that can wear so many different hats and acquit himself equally as well in all of them.
He’s certainly one of the first names down on the Barcelona team sheet now, and the question Ronald Koeman should be contemplating each week is who starts alongside him and of course Pedri.
In eight games last season, De Jong had a 100 percent pass completion rate in the opposition final third. That’s insane.
He was also only behind the more experienced Marco Verratti in terms of ball carries (carrying the ball five metres or more) in Europe’s top five leagues in 2020/21.
His eight goals in all competitions is also a decent return for a midfielder and is yet another string to his very impressive bow.
With the addition of Memphis expected up front anytime soon, a player whom De Jong dovetails with brilliantly at international level, Barca should expect to see even further improvement from Frenkie in an attacking sense.
In fact, the biggest compliment that can be paid to him is that for a player that didn’t come through La Masia, he looks completely at home with the blaugranes.