Football News

Frenkie de Jong should have joined Juventus over Barcelona, says Louis van Gaal

By Ben Green

Published: 10:32, 4 March 2020

Louis van Gaal believes compatriot Frenkie de Jong made the wrong decision by joining Barcelona instead of Juventus.

The Dutch midfielder relocated to Catalonia from Ajax in the summer after agreeing to join Van Gaal’s former club in January 2019.

De Jong at Barcelona: Five things to know…

  • Barcelona signed De Jong from Ajax in January 2019 for £65.3m, officially joining the club last summer.
  • Since then, the Dutchman has been a regular fixture for the club, featuring 36 times in all competitions.
  • Despite playing consistently, De Jong hasn’t quite replicated his Ajax form at Barca just yet.
  • Van Gaal believes the Dutchman is being played out of position and hence struggling to showcase his true talents.
  • He has since suggested De Jong should have joined Juventus in the summer rather than Barca.

Matthijs de Ligt joined his ex-teammate out of the Ajax door in what proved a summer exodus for last season’s Champions League semi-finalists, joining Juventus in a deal worth £67.8m.

Despite two of Europe’s biggest clubs securing eye-watering moves for the coveted duo, both Juve and Barca have struggled to hit their usual heights this campaign.

Barca’s woes culminated in the midseason dismissal of Ernesto Valverde, while the public courting of his successor only added to the heightened sense of disillusionment at the Camp Nou.

The introduction of Quique Setien has done little to dissolve the on-field troubles with Barca’s lack of cutting edge once again laid bare as Real Madrid won El Clasico 2-0 on Sunday.

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In the wake of another disappointing performance under Setien, Van Gaal made his thoughts clear that De Jong made the wrong decision by joining Barca.

“He is not playing in his position,” Van Gaal told Ziggo Sport. “At Ajax, everyone was looking for him, he was the centre of the game while at Barca it is not like that. This is the big difference.

“If only one club had to buy Matthijs de Ligt, it would have been Barcelona. And with Busquets, it turns out that Frenkie de Jong should have gone to Juventus. Barca lacks more a De Ligt type player than De Jong.”

Barcelona face Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.