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Xavi hints at Barcelona exit for Man Utd target Dest, backs De Jong to shine

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Xavi hints at Barcelona exit for Man Utd target Dest, backs De Jong to shineBarcelona coach Xavi has hinted Sergino Dest’s future may lie elsewhere amid reports linking the United States international with a move to Manchester United.

With Aaron Wan-Bissaka out of favour and Diogo Dalot struggling during a torrid start to the Premier League season for United, Erik ten Hag’s side have been touted as potential suitors for the right-back.

Dest, who made 21 appearances as Barca finished second in LaLiga last season, was left out of the Blaugrana’s squad for an opening-day draw with Rayo Vallecano last week.

Xavi moved natural centre-back Ronald Araujo to the right for that match, and Barcelona were strongly linked with a move for Cesar Azpilicueta before he signed a new two-year contract with Chelsea.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s trip to Real Sociedad, Xavi claimed Barca were well-stocked in Dest’s position, insisting: “We were very clear with the planning. We wanted to sign Azpilicueta, but it couldn’t be, and now this is the situation.

“There are people in the squad to cover this position. We have Araujo, who was good the other day, Sergi Roberto and even [Jules] Kounde.”

Asked specifically about Dest, Xavi simply added: “He already knows what the situation is.”

Frenkie de Jong was another Barcelona player linked with a move to Old Trafford, although United’s imminent capture of Real Madrid enforcer Casemiro could signal the end of their long-running pursuit of the Netherlands international.

And Xavi, who labelled De Jong an “important player” earlier this month, has backed the classy midfielder to shine should he remain at Camp Nou.

Drawing a comparison between De Jong’s playing style and his own, Xavi said: “I see him facing the game. It happens to him like me. I, with my back to the game, was not comfortable.

“Facing the game, he is a spectacular footballer. He divides, he has strength and physical power, arrival, passing… He can be adapted to different positions.

“I see him more on the inside [of the midfield], but he can also be a pivot. I can’t imagine him playing on the side.”

Barca are looking to maintain their strong record in San Sebastian when they face La Real in their first away match of the new season on Sunday, having gone unbeaten through their last six league trips to Anoeta.

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