The Blaugrana were top of La Liga by Christmas but their form fell off a cliff in the second half of the season both domestically and in Europe, culminating in the catastrophic 8-2 battering at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
De Jong struggled to assert himself in the manner in which he came to European football’s attention the season before, starring for a bold and exciting Ajax team that ran to the semi-final of the Champions League.
This time, however, things are different, as backed up by a statistical analysis by The Athletic. Koeman has apparently taken De Jong aside and advised him on how to thrive in his new role, as an eight as opposed to a six, and it’s paying dividends. De Jong is playing with abandon, causing damage in the final third as well as showcasing his neat range of passing.