The former Blaugrana star isn’t convinced that the promising midfielder has been played in his best position, which has resulted in questions of his form.
Frenkie de Jong’s struggles for consistency at Barcelona are down to the Liga giants playing him out of position, says Ronald Koeman.
The Blaugrana were believed to have pulled off quite a coup when winning the race to get a much-sought-after signature in 2019.
A $75 million (#65m/$85m) arrangement with Ajax was pushed through in the summer transfer window, with De Jong carrying his considerable potential to Camp Nou.
Big things were expected of the Dutchman along with the likes of Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic in Catalunya.
The 22-year-old is, nevertheless, yet to create the desired impact at Barca, with some of the energy and spark that made him highly-rated in his homeland suddenly missing in Spain.
Koeman, who works with De Jong in his position as director of their Netherlands national group, believes the incorrect approach has been taken with high talent.
The former Barca star admits that studying different roles is essential for any young player, but feels more could be eked out of a big-money addition when he had been used in a pure holding berth.
Koeman told Marca of a fellow countryman:”It is important that he’s playing games, even though they may not be in his favorite position.
“With the national team, he gamers deeper but we play with two holding midfielders and Barcelona only play with one and two central midfielders, or occasionally with four central midfielders.
“The position he’s playing today is different to the national team and Ajax.
“He’s learning how to play further forward like this, it isn’t all bad, but it is not his best position. For me personally, I think he plays playing deeper.”
While he’s yet to really excel at Barca, De Jong has claimed he has no regrets at having favoured the Liga giants across the other transport options available to him.
He’s told Sport: I do not regret having signed for Barca, not for one moment.
“I am very happy because I always wanted to play here. I’m playing with players that for me are real legends. I’m enjoying myself and I’m learning a lot, also. I’m at the best club in the world. Living in a superb city with fantastic weather.
“I always wanted to play for Barca.
“I don’t know what is going to happen in the future, but I am happy here and there is no step ahead from Barca. There’s no greater level.”
De Jong has taken in 37 appearances for the Blaugrana across all competitions this season, recording two goals and four assists.