Barcelona look set for a new tactical approach under new manager Ronald Koeman. The Dutchman has returned to the club where he enjoyed huge success as a player and is ready to make changes to Barca’s playing style.
Koeman wants to use a double pivot system in midfield which is likely to be good news for Frenkie de Jong, according to Fernando Polo at Mundo Deportivo. De Jong will be one of the midfielders used in the scheme alongside either Sergio Busquets or new signing Miralem Pjanic.
De Jong knows the system well. He played as part of a double pivot under Koeman for the Netherlands national team and for former club Ajax. The new approach also means Barca would move from their traditional 4-3-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1.
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De Jong Set For Key Role
Koeman has already spoken about how he plans to use De Jong at Barcelona. The midfielder enjoyed a solid if unspectacular first season at the Camp Nou in 2019-20 following his move from Ajax.
De Jong has openly admitted he feels he could have done better in his first season with the Catalan giants in an interview with Sport’s Sergi Capdevila.
“I am really happy to have fulfilled my dream (of playing for Barca), it was always my dream. I am happy with my life here, with the staff… I am really enjoying it.
“If I speak about my performances, I could have done much better this year. I don’t think I’ve played many bad games, but I haven’t been able to have a run of really good games, either. I think I’ve been OK, but not good enough.”
The Dutchman was a regular starter for Barcelona last season but played in a slightly more advanced role to his preferred position as a deep-lying midfielder. Koeman has told NOS that he wants De Jong in the position he feels most comfortable.
“The plan is to start playing Frenkie de Jong in the position that he plays with the national team as well. I remember attending a Barcelona game and I saw him play a position where I wouldn’t play him as a coach.
“You’ve spent a lot of money on a young player. You should then play him in his own position, where he can perform in a way you’d expect from him. He’s shown at Ajax and with the Dutch national team which position suits him best and that’s where he will be playing at Barcelona as well.
“There’s stiff competition for that role, so he will have to be in great shape and form. But it will be in a position that suits him.”
It’s not just tactical changes that Koeman is busy making at Barcelona. He’s also set to rejuvenate an aging squad after a trophyless campaign in 2019-20. Striker Luis Suarez has already been told he’s surplus to requirements, while Ivan Rakitic, Samuel Umtiti, and Arturo Vidal have also been told they are not in the new manager’s plans.