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Barcelona boss Xavi praises Frenkie de Jong as Manchester United transfer hopes fade

Frenkie de Jong next to Barcelona coach Xavi as he prepares to enter the pitch against Rayo Vallecano.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez insists Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong will be an 'important' player if he stays at the Catalan club this summer.

De Jong was a substitute for Barcelona in their 0-0 draw at home to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, but impressed as he came off the bench to replace Gavi after an hour of their LaLiga opener.

The Dutch international has been persistently linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer, but is understood to be happy at Barcelona and keen to extend his time at Camp Nou.

Xavi, who has admitted the situation is out of his hands due to the player's complicated wage structure - he is still owed money by the club - and the team's delicate finances, was asked about the former Ajax midfielder.

“De Jong is not a substitute," he said after the game against Rayo.

"He’s an important player and I have said that many times. I don’t know what will happen, but if he stays he will continue to be important."

The player's fiance, Mikky Kiemeney, recently told a group of Barcelona fans that the pair hoped to stay in the Catalan capital but that she was unsure what the outcome would be this summer.

Meanwhile, Manchester United's sorry start to the season will also have done little to persuade De Jong that he would be better off at Old Trafford than Camp Nou.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.