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Xavi speaks out over de Jong’s Barcelona future after ‘face-to-face chat’

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Xavi speaks out over Frenkie de Jong’s Barcelona future after ‘face-to-face chat’

 

Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez has provided an insight into the club’s plans for transfer-linked midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

De Jong, of course, has endured something of a hit-and-miss campaign to date.

Amid a remarkably inconsistent term on the part of Barca’s squad as a whole, the gifted midfielder has often found himself singled out as something of a scapegoat, amid suggestions that de Jong too often simply allows the game to pass him by.

And such qualms on the part of the Catalan giants’ fanbase, in turn, have culminated in inevitable speculation regarding a potential parting of ways between Barcelona and the club’s big-money 2019 arrival come the summer.

Xavi speaks out over Frenkie de Jong’s Barcelona future after ‘face-to-face chat’

BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 24: Frenkie de Jong of FC Barcelona during the La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou on April 24, 2022 in Barcelona Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Manchester United, for one, have been hotly tipped as a potential landing spot for the 24-year-old, a move which would of course see him reunite with the incoming Erik ten Hag.

Speaking in a press conference on Saturday, it therefore came as little surprise when the subject of de Jong’s future was put to his current boss.

Xavi, though, was quick to halt any such speculation surrounding his midfield star in its tracks, assuring that de Jong represents ‘the present and the future’ of Barcelona:

“He has to be a player that makes the difference and he does,” the Spaniard began.

“There aren’t many players with his quality in the world. He’s the present and the future [at Barca]. He is a very important player for me. He’s capable, strong, he gets into the box… He has had some excellent games, but he has to be consistent.

Xavi also went on to provide an insight into a personal discussion held between he and de Jong earlier this week, after the Dutch international was left looking visibly frustrated with being hauled off early in a La Liga meeting with Rayo Vallecano:

“We had a face-to-face chat this week and it went well. Obviously being taken off is frustrating for him, but I have to look out for the team.”

Mallorca next up

Turning attentions back towards matters on the pitch, Barca will of course be back in action in just shy of 24 hours’ time.

On the back of an alarming stretch of three defeats in four, including a 1-0 home loss at the hands of the aforementioned Rayo Vallecano last weekend, the Blaugrana will be hopeful of a return to winning ways when they welcome relegation-battling RCD Mallorca to Catalunya on Sunday night.

Their recent dip in form means that Xavi’s troops could head into the clash sitting as low as 4th in the La Liga table, if Atletico Madrid can get the better of Athletic Club this evening.

 

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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

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Man City handed double boost ahead of Aston Villa

 

Premier League-chasing Manchester City have, on Thursday, been afforded an altogether timely double boost on the personnel front.

Pep Guardiola’s troops are of course primed to return to action in 72 hours’ time.

In the knowledge that a three-point haul will see them assured of back-to-back titles in the English top-flight, the Sky Blues are set to welcome Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to the Etihad, for a final day clash.

And, after stuttering to a 2-2 stalemate with West Ham last time out, City, this time round, will likely be considerably more confident in keeping their upcoming opponents at bay.

This comes owing to a pair of timely returns to fitness in the club’s first-team ranks.

As confirmed in a post across the Citizens’ social media platforms on Thursday, John Stones and Kyle Walker, both of whom were forced to sit out at the London Stadium owing to injury, have returned to training alongside the rest of Pep Guardiola’s squad.

The two defenders, in turn, are expected to be available for selection this coming Sunday.

Wolves test

Turning attentions towards the other protagonist in the Premier League’s title race, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will welcome Wolverhampton Wanderer to Anfield this weekend, primed to take advantage of any potential slip-up on Man City’s part.

The Reds, amid an ongoing pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, currently sit just a point adrift of the table-topping Sky Blues.

This comes after Klopp and co, despite a whole raft of changes, emerged from a meeting with Southampton with a hard-fought 2-1 win on Tuesday night.

 

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

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Robert Lewandowski’s agent drops major hint over Barcelona switch

 

Word stemming from the Spanish media over the course of the last 24 hours points towards Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski inching ever closer to a move to Barcelona.

Speculation surrounding the future of Polish international Lewandowski has of course been rampant in the media for some time now.

This comes with the 33-year-old, fresh off another scintillating campaign in front of goal, eyeing a move away from Bavaria ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Speaking ahead of the club’s final Bundesliga outing of the season last weekend, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed as much, albeit whilst adding that Lewandowski is expected to see out the remaining year on his current contract:

To this point, the outfit most frequently tipped as a summer landing spot for Bayern’s star man have of course been Barcelona.

This comes with Xavi and co. understood to be highly appreciative of Lewandowski’s goalscoring talents, and evidently of the opinion that heading into the new season with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the club’s first-choice centre-forward is out of the question.

And, as alluded to above, if the latest rumours emanating from Spain are anything to go by, then the Blaugrana appear primed to imminently land their man.

As per transfer journalist Gerard Romero, Pini Zahavi, Lewandowski’s representative, was in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Not only that, but, during his trip, the super agent paid a visit to the club’s official store, to allegedly purchase no fewer than ten Barca jerseys, all with Lewandowski’s name emblazoned across the back.

Blues keen

Interestingly, word of Barcelona’s swoop for ‘Lewa’ inching ever closer comes fresh on the back of the 33-year-old being linked with a move to another of European football’s heavyweights just days ago.

The outfit in question? Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

 

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Jordan Ayew escapes punishment in reckless challenge against Everton

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Why Jordan Ayew was not sent off for ‘reckless’ challenge vs Everton

Iconic Premier League club Everton are in a fight for their lives in the top flight of English football coming into the final weekend of action in the 2021-22 season, and at the time of writing are hosting Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace at Goodison Park with anything less than a win set to subject the Toffees to a final day of action on Sunday that could consign them to relegation.

But Everton fans will undoubtedly feel aggrieved after Eagles forward Jordan Ayew escaped serious punishment after a reckless challenge on academy graduate Anthony Gordon right next to both dugouts during the first half of play.

Ayew was seen to hack down Gordon with a scissor motion while contesting possession and made no attempt to win the ball, with players on both sides losing their cool in the resulting scrum.

It could not have come at a worse time for Everton given the gravity of the evening, and though the Toffees have fought back to lead 3-2 at the time of writing after Jean-Philippe Mateta and the aforementioned Ayew gave the Eagles a two-goal lead ahead of Michael Keane, Richarlison, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin bringing matters into Everton’s hands, the fact that the Premier League came out in response to state that the tackle was “reckless” but not worthy of a red card once against calls into question the FA and the inconsistent refereeing standards in the league.

If Ayew was correctly sent off given the video and picture evidence on hand, matters could well be different regardless of the fact that Everton have done incredibly well to fight back when it has mattered most.

With both teams now in stoppage time, it’s clear that the Toffees found fuel through injustice with their Premier League lives at stake.


This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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