Former Barcelona midfielder Ronald de Boer has offered the Catalans a bit of advice on midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets.
De Jong scored the winner for Barcelona against Alaves at the weekend but has largely struggled to find his best form so far in 2021-22.
De Boer was asked for his views about Frenkie and said he thinks the former Ajax man is finding it tough going at the Camp Nou right now.
“He is suffering now. In his first year he played very well. Even last year he was at a good level. He is still a great player for Barça. But right now, when I see him move around on the pitch, I get the impression that he does it very shyly,” he said.
“He doesn’t show the energy he normally has. He seems a bit lost. Sometimes you go through those periods. You are not always at your highest level. You have ups and downs. Now De Jong is in a slump. He doesn’t look happy. It’s clear.”
The 51-year-old was also asked what he thought the problem was and made it clear he thinks Busquets should step aside to make way for De Jong.
“The continuous change of coaches could affect him. In addition to the fact that Busquets continues to be a starter in midfield. That is his best position. It is a role that he could play very well because he is able to defend very well. He is fast, tall to win aerial duels, covers a lot of space,” he said.
“Busquets is an incredible player but he needs a lot of protection. If you have to cover a lot of ground, you are in trouble. This conditions the entire team and also De Jong, despite the fact that in the past seasons he has been able to play very well as an eight. He can be an excellent attacking midfielder.”
De Boer went on to talk about his admiration for Busquets but did add that the future of Barcelona’s midfield lies with the club’s impressive yongsters.
“I would put him at six. He is the future. Busquets is finishing his career. I am a lover of Busquets. For me he is a genius. Sees situations before they happen,” he explained.
“But he is of an age and sometimes the clubs and the coaches cling too long to footballers who must step aside. The future is De Jong, Gavi, Pedri, Nico... With those they have an incredible midfield!”
Source | El Pais
Barca coach Xavi has spoken about both players recently amid scrutiny of the midfielders’ form. He stressed to reporters ahead of the trip to Alaves that De Jong is an “important player” and said he had “no doubts” after Busquets before the Super Cup.