Frenkie de Jong is an important player for Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, but the 23-year-old appears to want to return to his preferred central midfield position after a stint at center-back.
De Jong is willing to fill in wherever the team needs him, but he has expressed a desire to play in midfield, which could give Koeman a headache.
“I prefer playing in central midfield, but if it is best for the team that I play at the back or in another position, I’ll do it,” De Jong told reporters after Barcelona’s 1-0 win against Real Valladolid on Monday night.
“We changed the system today and I’ve played in many positions.”
De Jong started the game at centre-back before being moved to midfield, where he assisted Ousmane Dembele’s game-winning goal on the right flank.
The former Ajax midfielder is at ease in any position, but he knows that his natural position of central midfield is where he can be most effective.
This begs the question of where De Jong will play against Real Madrid on Saturday, a game in which he will undoubtedly start.
Gerard Pique’s return may mean he is no longer required in defense, so he could move forward to join Sergio Busquets and Pedri in midfield to help counter Los Blancos’ midfield strength.
That means one of Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele, or Antoine Griezmann would have to make way, with the latter being the most likely candidate.
The former Atletico Madrid player could be used as a 120 million euro super sub if he is sacrificed.