Xavi insists he ‘really likes’ Frenkie de Jong but has suggested Barcelona could sell the Manchester United and Chelsea target to improve the club’s finances.
Barcelona are playing a dangerous game as they continue to splash the cash on summer signings despite being in more than £1bn of debt.
Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha are the latest big-money signings to arrive at the Nou Camp, with deals for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde and Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva also in the works.
Given the spending spree, Barcelona could look to offload a number of players before the transfer deadline, with Netherlands international De Jong attracting interest from Manchester United and Chelsea.
Xavi views De Jong as a ‘key player’ at Barca but admits a decision over his future could be taken out of his hands given the club’s financial situation.
‘We’ve had private conversations that are very important, that I will not reveal here,’ Xavi said after Barcelona’s 1-0 win over La Liga rivals Real Madrid on Sunday.
‘He’s a key player, but then there’s the economic situation and Financial Fair Play.’
De Jong was named on the bench for Barcelona’s latest pre-season friendly and played in defence after coming on at half-time.
Asked if he was sending a message to De Jong by playing him as a defender, Xavi replied: ‘I am not sending messages to anyone. I like him a lot as a player.
‘Playing as a centre-back, he can give us a lot, he can adapt to that position. We want that the centre-back distributes the ball and he does it very well.’
Manchester United have been linked with a move for De Jong throughout the summer but the 25-year-old would prefer to remain at Barcelona.
Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag worked with De Jong at Ajax and is desperate to bring him to Old Trafford, having already secured deals for Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia and Lisandro Martinez.
Chelsea have also expressed interest in signing De Jong as Thomas Tuchel looks to bolster his midfield options and improve on last season’s third-place finish in the Premier League.
Xavi, meanwhile, was pleased with Barcelona’s performance against Real Madrid, telling reporters: ‘Here there are no friendlies, there are opportunities, and even more so against Madrid.
‘We want to win, to compete, and we could have killed off the game, but I saw a lot of positive things.
On the contributions of his new signings, Xavi added: ‘Raphinha made the difference, he is dynamic and he can play on both wings.
‘Robert [Lewandowski] is a world-class star, he adapted very quickly. I’m happy, the new players will give competition up front and everyone will have to wake up quickly.’
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