Luuk de Jong really struggled for Barcelona as they drew 2-2 away to Osasuna in La Liga.
The result stopped the Blaugrana from gaining points in a crucial race for a top four place, putting their Champions League qualification in jeapardy just days after they were eliminated from this season’s Champions League.
And while there were a few players who disappointed, notably Coutinho in his brief but ridiculous cameo, none were more of a letdown than Luuk de Jong.
The striker was a late loan signing at the behest of Ronald Koeman and never seemed a good fit with Barcelona, and as such Xavi had barely used him so far this season.
Before today’s game, De Jong’s only appearance since Koeman was sacked was an 8 minute cameo against Betis a week ago. He’s just not been an option, which could be because he’s only at the club on loan.
This weekend, however, he not only started but played the full 90 minutes. Memphis Depay’s injury forced Xavi to try and plug a square peg into a round hole and unsurprisingly, De Jong’s squareness yet again hampered his and Barcelona’s effectiveness.
Despite playing as the team’s striker, De Jong had 0 shots on target (0 shots in total) off 3 touches in the opponent’s area, completed just 9 passes in the final third and, while he did win 5/8 aerial duels and make 4 clearances, his non-presence as an offensive threat was notable.
Even the chances he creates were results of him making the wrong decision and his team-mates bailing him out with a shot. Time and again he panicked in possession and gave the ball away, killing attacks with indecision.
Memphis Depay has struggled at times for Barcelona this season, but Luuk de Jong’s performances this season in general (he has just 2 shots on target all campaign) and under Xavi in particular have made his compatriot look excellent in comparison.
It was strange that Ronald Koeman insisted on signing De Jong. It’s a shame for the striker who isn’t bad, but a bad fit with Barcelona. Still though, you can see why the Blaugrana would be interested in signing a striker in January. They need a goalscorer to spark them to life under Xavi and based on the Osasuna game, that won’t be Luuk de Jong.