'We want him to stay at Barcelona' – Barca president Joan Laporta confirms plan to keep De Jong

By Sports Desk August 07, 2022

Frenkie de Jong appears likely to remain at Barcelona for this season, if the comments from club president Joan Laporta after their side's 6-0 pre-season win against Pumas are to be believed.

De Jong scored the sixth goal in the rout, coming off the bench at half-time and finding the net in the 84th minute.

He has been one of the main names featured in transfer rumours this off-season, with Barcelona's questionable finances making it seem like the club would have to part ways with the 25-year-old Dutch international to fund their sizeable moves for Leeds United winger Raphinha, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde.

However, having been outspoken about his desire to remain at Camp Nou, it now seems more likely he will not be sold during this transfer window, with Laporta saying before the match against Pumas that it is what both parties want.

"Frenkie is our player and we want him to stay at Barcelona," he said. "He wants to stay, too.

"With him and his teammates, we have a very powerful midfield. He has offers, but we want him to stay."

After the match, Xavi was less emphatic about De Jong's future when interviewed by TV3, but insisted that he's "counting on" the midfielder this season.

"I don’t know what will happen to Frenkie, as until August 31st anything can happen," he said.

"He knows what I think, and what the club want and need. Of course I’m counting on him, he’s a great player."

Barcelona will open their LaLiga campaign at home against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

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    Erik ten Hag won the Carabao Cup during a promising first season in charge but the Dutchman’s second campaign has been a roller coaster with more lows than highs.

    United’s season reached a nadir on Saturday afternoon as Bournemouth won at Old Trafford for the first time in their history, with the hosts fortunate to escape with only a 3-0 defeat.

    It was a remarkable drop-off from Wednesday’s 2-1 win against Chelsea and led exasperated Ten Hag to admit they are not good enough to play on a high level consistently.

    “(I want) to apologise for the performance,” skipper Fernandes said. “It was not acceptable, starting on me. I’m not talking about anyone else.

    “But I think everyone agrees in the dressing room that the performance was (not) at our level and we have to perform much better.

    “It was underperforming on quality-wise, on effort-wise and not aggressive as we did in the last game against Chelsea.

    “If you don’t do your job, you’re not going to win the game.”

    Similar words and explanations have been heard during a challenging season that has seen United lose 11 of their 23 matches in all competitions.

    They have won 11 and drawn the other, but the eye-watering number of defeats means pressure is mounting on Ten Hag and his team.

    “I don’t know (why it was so different to Chelsea) but it’s been consistently like (this),” Fernandes told MUTV. “When we win a game, the next one we don’t perform in the same way we did before.

    “I don’t know if it’s like a lack of concentration or focus or something else, but it’s something that we have to be aware that after winning a game we have to get that consistency of winning games.

    “Even sometimes (if we are) underperforming but getting the result.”

    United now need to press reset and find the right attitude to avoid being sent into a tailspin at the end of a crucial week.

    First up comes Tuesday’s key Champions League clash against Bayern Munich, with the Red Devils only progressing if they win and the other Group A game between Copenhagen and Galatasaray ends in a draw.

    Then comes a Premier League trip to rivals Liverpool next Sunday – a match Fernandes will miss after collecting his fifth booking of the season against Bournemouth.

    “Obviously it’s good (that we play soon),” Fernandes said. “Obviously we know that now the next game is going to be really tough.

    “We have to win and obviously wait for a good result on the other game for us.

    “But we have to do our job first of all, and thinking and understanding that is going to be a tough game for us.

    “But we are capable, more than able, to get the result.”

    While United’s problems are pored over in minute detail, things are looking far rosier on the south coast.

    Summer appointment Andoni Iraola has overseen a superb upturn in recent weeks at Bournemouth.

    Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing and Marcos Senesi scored the goals in a match that goes down as one of the Cherries’ greatest ever results.

    Asked where the win rated in the club’s recent history, long-serving right-back Adam Smith told BBC Radio Solent: “I’d say it’s number one.

    “I mean, it’s the Theatre of Dreams and we had never won here. It was tough at times and we suffered. But we were playing Manchester United.

    “I think the lads will remember it for a long time. We kept a clean sheet and it probably should have maybe have been 4-0. It was unbelievable for the fans.”

  • Man Utd not good enough to play at a high level consistently – Erik ten Hag Man Utd not good enough to play at a high level consistently – Erik ten Hag

    Exasperated Erik ten Hag admitted Manchester United are not good enough to play on a high level consistently after Bournemouth made history with their first-ever Old Trafford win.

    This has been a challenging second season in the dugout for the Dutchman, whose side collapsed in humiliating fashion just three days after impressively beating Chelsea.

    Star man Dominic Solanke put Bournemouth ahead after five minutes on Saturday, with Philip Billing and Marcos Senesi headers securing a 3-0 Premier League triumph that could have been worse for United.

    Andoni Iraola’s ever-improving side became the first Cherries team ever to win at Old Trafford, where the hosts were booed having been outplayed and outfought in embarrassing fashion.

    “Of course, annoyed and disappointed, definitely,” United boss Ten Hag said. “I expected something different.

    “I hoped before the game you can build on the performance and result from Chelsea, so then it’s very disappointing.

    “That (consistency) is of course the question, but I think we have to always be ready for the game, so I have to take the responsibility for that.

    “I have to prepare my team so that they are ready for the game, so from my point of view I’m very disappointed the way we started so I have to do the things better.”

    Ten Hag shouldered much of the responsibility after this season’s 11th defeat in all competitions, with United’s slow starts and knack at conceding costing them once more.

    “We are really inconsistent,” the Dutchman said. “We have the abilities to do it, but you have to do it every game and every third day.”

    Asked if consistency was key to being an elite team, Ten Hag added: “I think as a squad we are not good enough to be consistent and we have to work as a squad to improve that.”

    It was an eye-catching remark at the end of a week that began with reports that some United players had grown unhappy with the manager.

    A key Champions League match against Bayern Munich and Premier League trip to rivals Liverpool now follows for a Jekyll and Hyde team incapable of performing reliably.

    “As a group, we have to improve,” Ten Hag said. “That’s a fact. We have to get tougher, that we are ready for the game and from the start.

    “I said on Friday, it can’t be in this league that you are not playing on the highest levels because you get killed.

    “That’s what happened in the five minutes and then you are following facts and especially against them, such a good transition team, you make life easy for them. They have the perfect conditions to play in.

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    United will dominate the post-match discussion but this was Bournemouth’s day having achieved one of the greatest results in club history.

    Iraola and his players were serenaded after a famous win that underlines just how far the Cherries have come this term.

    “I feel it was really great, obviously,” summer appointment Iraola said. “Today we had a really good performance.

    “I think the team suffered when they had to suffer. We defended really well and we knew that probably in transitions we would have our chances and we took them.”

    Asked how this win compared to his victories as Rayo Vallecano boss at Real Madrid and Barcelona, the Cherries manager said: “It’s a difficult comparison. I don’t know.

    “It is probably the best result in England. I think it’s nice to win in this kind of a stadium with this kind of performance.

    “But you look it’s 3-0, we could even have scored the fourth one.

    “But we’ve had moments to suffer also in the first half because they were more on the ball, we were defending quite well.

    “But with the quality of the players they have, you never know when they can make the difference.

    “I think for us was the key to defend well and then to be dangerous in transitions.”

  • Bournemouth make history with comprehensive victory over Man Utd at Old Trafford Bournemouth make history with comprehensive victory over Man Utd at Old Trafford

    Bournemouth are celebrating a stunning first-ever victory at Old Trafford after Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United were outplayed and outfought in a 3-0 Premier League humiliation.

    The Red Devils were embarrassed by Andoni Iraola’s ever-improving Cherries just three days on from beating Chelsea with arguably their best performance of the season.

    Star turn Dominic Solanke scored a smart fifth-minute opener and hit the post in an alarming first-half display by United that was followed by a complete capitulation after the break.

    Substitute Philip Billing headed Bournemouth further ahead and Marcos Senesi added another from a corner in front of the elated, open-mouthed away support.

    A number of United fans left after the third and a VAR review prevented Dango Ouattara adding another on an afternoon that ended with widespread boos from the Old Trafford faithful.

    This result is sure to heap pressure on boss Ten Hag, whose decision to replace Anthony Martial with Rasmus Hojlund was cheered on a dark day that could soon be compounded.

    United’s European ambitions are hanging by a thread heading into Tuesday’s final Champions League group game at home to Bayern Munich. A trip to high-flying rivals Liverpool follows next weekend.

    The 11th loss in all competition of the campaign – and 18th of 2023 – was on the cards from the outset.

    United stumbled out of the blocks and were breathing a sigh of relief when Solanke went down in the box as Andre Onana attempted to reach a back pass with 46 seconds on the clock.

    The VAR decided against awarding a penalty after reviewing the incident, but the hosts’ sloppiness was quickly punished.

    Having won the ball and kept it smartly, Bruno Fernandes’ clipped ball from deep on the left side of their own half was picked off by Lewis Cook.

    The Cherries midfielder nipped in ahead of Scott McTominay, burst forward and sent a low ball that Solanke smartly took past Onana with a delicate six-yard finish.

    United were stunned and quickly looked to make amends, but Harry Maguire’s looping header was the best they could muster despite controlling possession.

    Bournemouth were as defensively organised as they were committed and threatened to land another first-half blow on several occasions.

    Marcus Tavernier saw a low attempt saved and found the net in the 24th minute, turning in from close range after Onana stopped a header from what proved to be an offside Solanke.

    Illia Zabarnyi saw an effort from a corner turned around the post by Diogo Dalot as the away side pushed for another, going onto hit the woodwork as half-time approached.

    McTominay saw a first-time pass cut out and Solanke was slipped in to get away a low shot that beat Onana but came back off the far post.

    The striker would have got away another in stoppage-time was it not for a key Maguire challenge at the end of a Bournemouth break. Little wonder there were boos at the interval.

    The lack of United changes at half-time was more surprising and there were huge cheers when Hojlund replaced ineffective Martial in the 56th minute.

    There had been groans during the forward’s involvement towards the end of the opening period and Ten Hag gave him a pat on the back after traipsing around the pitch to the dugout.

    Hojlund was swiftly booked for waving an imaginary card and soon expressed more frustration when Dalot struck into the side-netting rather than crossing.

    The hosts’ mood soon worsened. Bournemouth won possession and Solanke darted forwards, before playing wide for Tavernier to lift a cross to the far post where the towering Billing headed home.

    The 68th-minute goal was followed by a another in the 73rd and led to some of the 72,427 in attendance making an early exit.

    Tavernier’s corner from the right was good but made to look a lot better by awful defending, with Senesi all too easily able to get away a header that beat Onana.

    Ten Hag made a triple change but it was too little, too late.

    As if the afternoon was not damaging enough, Fernandes’ moaning at the referee earned him a a booking that rules him out of next Sunday’s trip to Liverpool.

    The VAR saved United from conceding a fourth in stoppage-time, with Ouattara adjudged to have handled when bundling past the hapless hosts.

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