Speaking ahead of the Netherlands UEFA Nations League assignments against Poland and Belgium (h/t AD.nl), Oranje manager Louis van Gaal has claimed that he is not entirely happy with the game-time that Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong are receiving at Barcelona.
Both Depay and De Jong were subjects of intense transfer speculations over the summer. The former came close to joining Juventus only to see the move fall through while the latter was constantly linked with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.
While they ended up staying put at Spotify Camp Nou, neither Depay nor De Jong are regular starters in Xavi Hernandez’s scheme of things any longer.
Indeed, Depay is behind Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele, Raphinha, Ansu Fati and even potentially Ferran Torres in the pecking order. Meanwhile, de Jong is also a rotation option behind Gavi, Pedri and Sergio Busquets.
Despite the circumstances, the duo has shown fight and have been pushing for more minutes with their recent performances. And Van Gaal has now spoken about their situation at Barcelona, stating that he would be happier if Depay and De Jong would play more at the Catalan club.
“It is true that many players called me in the transfer window. But I always ended every conversation with ‘this is my advice, but you make your own decision.’ I am happy with the outcome. But I would be happier if Frenkie and Memphis would play more than they are now,” the ex-Barcelona boss said.
Despite their reduced game-time, Depay and De Jong remain mainstays in the Netherlands national team and will be their main protagonists in the Nations League and the FIFA World Cup that will start in Qatar in November.
And Van Gaal will be hoping that by then, the duo will be featuring more regularly at the club level, so that they can arrive at the tournament in form and rhythm.