Xavi hints at Barcelona exit for Man target Dest, backs De Jong to shine

Sergino dest

Barcelona coach Xavi has hinted Sergino Dest’s future may lie elsewhere amid reports linking the United States international with a move to Manchester United.

With Aaron Wan-Bissaka out of favor and Diogo Dalot struggling during United’s torrid start to the Premier League season, Erik ten Haga’s side have been touted as potential suitors for the right-back.

Dest, who made 21 appearances last season as Barca finished second in LaLiga, was left out of the Blaugrana’s squad for the opening draw with Rayo Vallecano last week.

Xavi shifted natural centre-back Ronald Araujo to the right for this match and Barcelona were heavily linked with a move for Cesar Azpilicueta before he signed a new two-year contract with Chelsea.

Ahead of Sunday’s trip to Real Sociedad, Xavi insisted Barca are well stocked in Desta’s position, insisting: “We were clear with the planning. We wanted to sign Azpilicueta but it didn’t work out and this is the situation now.” .

“There are people in the team who cover that position. We have Araujo who has been good recently, Sergi Roberto and even [Jules] Kounde.”

When specifically asked about Desta, Xavi only added: “He already knows what the situation is.”

Frenkie de Jong has been another Barcelona player linked with a move to Old Trafford, although United’s imminent capture of Real Madrid’s Casemiro could signal the end of their long-running pursuit of the Netherlands international.

And Xavi, who labeled De Jong an “important player” earlier this month, has backed the classy midfielder to shine if he stays at Camp Nou.

Xavi compared De Jong’s playing style to his own, saying: “I see how he faces the game. It happens to him like it does to me. Me, with my back to the game, I didn’t feel good.”

“He is a spectacular footballer in the face of the match, he distributes, he has strength and physical strength, arrival, passing… He can adapt to different positions.

“I see him more inside [midfield], but he can also be a pivot. I can’t imagine him playing on the side.”

Barca look to maintain their strong record in San Sebastian when they face La Real in their first away game of the new season on Sunday, having gone their last six league trips to the Anoeta without defeat.

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