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Spanish football expert Graham Hunter has praised the 25-year-old’s stance despite strong interest from the likes of United. He said: “De Jong, on preference, factual, doesn’t really want to leave. That’s not utterly new in football.

“He knows there’s a big club waiting for him, potentially two including Chelsea. He knows that it’s his ex-manager and his career can thrive at Old Trafford.

“But he prefers the idea of putting things right at Barcelona, playing in what is potentially an exciting new era. And let’s not mess about, the lifestyle’s very good in Barcelona.

“De Jong is literally saying if I can tough this out, ‘I’m going to stay and I’m going to prove my worth’. Hats off to the lad for that.”

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