A Xavi Hernández a problem has arisen very high in his staff. Luke from Jong has gone from being evicted in the FC Barcelona to be a decisive holder in the plans of the egarense. The Dutchman has earned a place in the eleven in recent weeks by pure commitment, merit and goal, something very rare in this team at the moment. From having half a foot on the starting ramp, he is now among the players who contribute the most in offensive terms in this Barça.
The Dutchman has been able to take advantage of the opportunities that he has given Xavi Hernández during this start of the year with three goals in his last three games, the two league games against Granada and Mallorca, and the latter in the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid. Its presence in the area is being crucial for the Barça and the team is even geared its game to its figure, exploiting both its aerial qualities and its ability to appear to oxygenate the team.
During the last weeks of December, the buzz around the Dutchman was constant. It seemed to have no places in the plans Xavi after the removal of Ronald Koeman, his great supporter to arrive on the horn on the last day of the market in a three-way operation that led to Antoine Griezmann al Athletic from Madrid and left at the Camp Nou Luke coming from Sevilla. There were rumors that placed him in Cádiz, others back to Seville and revealed a girlfriend in minor leagues in Europe, it seemed that his departure was a fact in order to release more salary mass.
But between injuries and positives for Covid-19 the doors were opened wide to the opportunity of the Dutchman. Before him Mallorca had the first and Luke He responded as a forward knows best: with a goal. His header against the Balearic Islands gave the Catalans three vital points in a game where casualties were more numerous than suitable players. He made it 0-1 at Son Moix but could have scored another two goals if the stick had not repelled his attempt with the toe and a beautiful Chilean half.
Before him Granada more of the same. Another header from the Dutch put the Catalans ahead. In the end, after Gavi’s expulsion, his legs trembled again at the Barça and the goal of Luke It translated into another point for the team. In the Classic he made it clear once again that his place is the area, where he is most comfortable. His were the occasions culés when the team was worst, bringing out some light. His was the 1-1 that raised the morale of his teammates, opportunism to hunt down Militao’s clearance and surprise Courteous.
It was a key game and Xavi He had other options on the bench that could come out before Luuk in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup against him Real Madrid. Ansu Fati, Memphis, Jutglà… The Egarense had alternatives to take the lead but the one chosen was the Dutchman, who seems to make a place for himself in his schemes and convince by everything he offers, beyond the goal. With him on the field, the team makes greater use of the centers to the area looking for his head.
In fact, Xavi was questioned after the game about the role of the Dutchman in his team and if he should be thinking more about staying than leaving the Barça. The Egarense was categorical, placed a medal on the player’s chest and praised him for his professionalism: “Luuk is part of the squad. We are Barça and no one is going to play by name. They are going to play for performance, because they deserve it. The issue of meritocracy is very important to me. How am I going to get Luuk off the team? He is scoring goals, he is making a difference, he is generating good unchecks for us, playing face-to-face… Very good. It is an example for the team. If he continues to perform, he will continue playing ».
And it seems that Luke de Jong He has no intention of stopping playing like this, as he always has, which made him stand out at PSV in the Eredivisie on the basis of goals and which earned him to sign for Sevilla. At Barça, where no one expected him, he is finding a way to make a difference. Now other important players are back and a big problem arises: will he be able to hold out Luke and keep your maxim with the meritocracy?