Barcelona boss Xavi is hoping that 2022 will be a turning point in the careers of Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Frenkie de Jong after a disappointing couple of years.
The German goalkeeper had been a key figure at Camp Nou for a number of years after becoming La Blaugrana’s first choice shot stopper, while the Dutch midfielder has failed to live up to expectations following his move from Ajax in 2019.
Even though both were previously named as players the club might be willing to let go, Sport now report that Xavi is aware of the quality the two possess and is hoping to restore them to former glories as two of the most senior players in a young Barça dressing room.
Ter Stegen remains one of the finest goalkeepers in world football despite his decline, while De Jong was hailed as the next revolutionary midfielder in Barça’s fabled history of football evolution, and the head coach is determined to get the best out of them.
Xavi’s return to the club has seen several youngsters step up in their hour of need, with Barcelona making up ground on their rivals and entering La Liga’s winter break just two points off a Champions League place.
The head coach has already spoken glowingly of midfielder Gavi, insisting that there is no ceiling on his potential. Nico Gonzalez and Ez Abde are among others to have seriously impressed in the last month, while Golden Boy winner Pedri and star winger Ansu Fati will make their returns from injury in January.
La Blaugrana have been linked with a move for Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani next month and club president Joan Laporta has held talks with Mino Raiola regarding Erling Haaland’s availability but their ongoing financial woes are likely to prove a major stumbling block in deals for either forward.
However, Barça have managed to pass Luuk de Jong’s loan from Sevilla onto Cadiz, freeing up more space on the wage bill. Sergio Aguero’s recent retirement, while extremely sad and disappointing, will also help in that sense.