Former Barcelona presidential candidate Toni Freixa has insisted the La Liga giants can do without Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Araujo.
The Blaugrana have been in financial turmoil for several years which ultimately led to Lionel Messi’s departure in 2021. The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner decided not to return to Camp Nou this past summer due to the club’s economic situation.
However, Barcelona are still in murky financial waters and could be forced to sell several of their top talents. Two names that continue to be linked with moves away are De Jong and Araujo.
Reports claim that De Jong, 26, is open to leaving Barca this summer. The Dutch midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United ever since Erik ten Hag took charge in July 2022.
Meanwhile, Araujo, 24, has been on Bayern Munich’s radar and the Bundesliga giants were keen on signing him in January. Reports claim that Xavi was prepared to quit if the Uruguayan defender was sold last month before announcing he would leave at the end of the season.
Both Barcelona superstars’ futures are still uncertain heading towards the summer transfer window. They have been mainstays in Xavi’s side, playing important roles in the Catalan giants’ La Liga triumph last season.
Despite this, Freixa doesn’t think losing the duo would be hugely detrimental. The Spaniard said (via Managing Barca):
“With a good plan and a good sporting project, we can do without De Jong and Araujo. I am not saying that they are bad players, but we can do without them.”
De Jong has dealt with injury issues but has still been a regular starter when available. The Netherlands international has made 23 appearances across competitions and scored one goal.
Araujo has been vital at the back for Barca despite fitness problems, playing at both center-back and right-back. The Uruguay international has made 25 appearances across competitions, helping his side keep seven clean sheets.
Xavi could reportedly make an early exit from Barcelona if they struggle against Napoli
Xavi announced last month that he would be leaving the reigning La Liga champions at the end of the season. It’s been a frustrating campaign on and off the field for the Spanish tactician.
Barcelona have faltered in La Liga, sitting third at present, 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid. His side have performed well in the UEFA Champions League and are in the Round of 16.
The Blaugrana face Serie A giants Napoli, with the first leg arriving on Wednesday (February 21). That game could be hugely significant for Xavi and his place in the Catalan giants’ dugout.
According to Diario AS (via Get Football News Spain), Barcelona president Joan Laporta is becoming increasingly ‘exhausted’ with the club’s struggles under Xavi. He may decide to part ways with the legendary Barca midfielder if they are put to the sword by Napoli.
Xavi was appointed in November 2021 and ended a four-year La Liga title drought last season. He’s overseen 78 wins in 125 games during his reign.