TO BE FRENK FRENKIE DE JONG confirmed to Xavi he wanted to STAY at Barcelona last summer.
The Dutch midfielder, 25, was at the centre of a long transfer saga with Manchester United desperate to get a £72million deal done.
Frenkie de Jong told manager Xavi he wanted to stay at Barcelona last summer
Chelsea and Bayern Munich were also interested in taking him on loan from the Nou Camp.
The player was given a brutal ultimatum – to cut his wages dramatically or leave the club.
But eventually, he snubbed all the advances and stayed put with the LaLiga giants – and is reaping the rewards with a title challenge.
Now Barcelona are preparing to face United in the Europa League play-off – with De Jong set to start for the Catalan side.
And Xavi insisted his midfield star had no intention of leaving for tomorrow’s opponents.
The manager said: “He was very clear with me. He wanted to stay with us and there was no doubt.
“He is our player and I am very happy and satisfied with his performance and leadership.
“He is in a great moment, like the whole team.
“I think he is having a good time well on the field, which is the most important thing.”
De Jong – under contract until 2026 – has made 26 appearances in all competitions this term, with his two goals and one assist all coming in LaLiga.
United instead turned to Casemiro from Barca’s rivals Real Madrid, stumping up an initial £60m before adding Marcel Sabitzer on loan in January.
Speaking in September, De Jong also confirmed he was keen to stick with Barcelona, as the relationship improved – before his girlfriend Mikky Kiemeney could not resist a cheeky dig at United’s failure to land her man.
Former Ajax star De Jong said: “I always wanted to stay at Barcelona and this is why I always remained calm in the summer.
“I can’t give too many details away.
“But look, the club has its own ideas and I have my own ideas too and sometimes these clash with each other.
“But at the end of the day, things went okay.”