Frenkie de Jong’s journey at FC Barcelona looks to be coming to an end. Despite the Dutch midfielder terming Barca as “his dream club” and indicating that he wants to stay, Frenkie might be forcibly sold because of the club’s fragile financial situation.
The La Liga club has now put De Jong on the transfer market (via Managing Barca and Marca) after realizing they need the money from his sale. Frenkie might not be keen on leaving, but he will look to maximize his journey if his departure becomes a necessity.
With that being said, Barça will have to sign a replacement for De Jong if they sell him. The Dutchman was a pivotal part of their side last season and a valuable figure in midfield.
So let’s look at three potential replacements for Frenkie at Camp Nou.
Franck Kessie as new enforcer for Barcelona
With Barça being over €1bn in debt, it’s clear that they can’t spend enormous transfer fees on players. They will have to be economical with signings and even with those players that need to be replaced. One ideal De Jong replacement could be AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.
The midfielder has already agreed to join Barça as a free agent next season (as per Fabrizio Romano). They will get a Serie A title winner after Kessie helped AC Milan win their first league trophy in over a decade last season.
Kessie is a midfield powerhouse who, like De Jong, can play in a variety of positions. WhoScored states his strengths are his passing ability, dribbling, aerial ability and shot-blocking. The 25-year-old is defensively strong, often winning the ball with aggressive tackles and pressing ability.
He is also an expert penalty taker, set-piece specialist and can also wander forward to add an added attacking threat. The energetic Ivory Coast midfielder could fill the void left by De Jong and maintain that positive energy in Barca’s midfield.
Youri Tielemans: Barça’s next economical signing
If Barcelona are really looking for a cheap replacement for De Jong, Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans could be the perfect grab. The Belgian international might be available for as low as €30m (as per The Telegraph) as Leicester are ready to let him leave.
Tielemans is another midfielder slowly moving into his peak years. He can play in a deeper position as well as in a relatively advanced role, just like Frenkie. The Belgian midfielder had 10 goal contributions (6 goals, 4 assists) in 32 Premier League appearances for Leicester last season.
He is creative with his passing (WhoScored describes it as his biggest strength) and can thrive in a more possession-based set-up. Youri is also defensively strong and can work hard, which is important in order to thrive under Xavi.
The 25-year-old has a high ceiling and can help add a unique spark to Barcelona’s midfield. He is capable of replacing De Jong and might prove to be a smart signing at that kind of a low fee.
Jandro Orellana promoted from Barça B
Barcelona’s history has always urged the club to promote from within and they can take that route after potentially selling Frenkie. Because of their financial issues, Barcelona might not have the funds to sign a replacement for De Jong even if they sell him for a big fee.
FC Barça B player Jandro Orellana is a highly talented defensive midfielder direct from the La Masia academy. The 21-year-old has been called a perfect successor to Sergio Busquets, so it’s clear he could fill in for an important player like De Jong.
Orellana registered 4 assists in 23 games for Barça B last season. He is defensively strong and possesses slick passing skills, too.
Xavi is looking to promote players from the academy and he might look to transform Orellana into the perfect De Jong replacement, while also saving his club some money.