Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi are Europe's best at moving their team into attack

Leo Messi & Frenkie de Jong

Real Madrid have already killed it in the summer transfer window by signing stars like Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic, but let's not forget about Barcelona.

Despite disappointing ends to their Champions League and Copa del Rey campaigns, they cruised to yet another La Liga title and finished a huge 19 points ahead of Real.

In terms of transfers, Barca have been linked with Matthijs de Ligt, Antoine Griezmann, and one man who's already signed on the dotted line is the immensely talented Frenkie de Jong.

The Dutch starlet had an unbelievable impact on both Ajax and the Netherlands in his first season as a regular starter and is now seen as one of the most stylish playmakers around.

A detailed breakdown of a very interesting statistic during 2018-19 has emerged and it suggests De Jong could help Lionel Messi cause even more problems in the upcoming season.

De Jong set for life at Barca

De Jong racked up 52 appearances for the young Ajax side which captured the hearts of many people in the Champions League and that completed the double domestically.

Frenkie de Jong poses for pictures with the Eredivisie title

Back in January, Barcelona announced the signing of the central midfielder for a €75 million fee and his impressive form this year should earn him a place straight in the starting XI.

Moving a team into the attacking phase

Some analytics can be useless, but an intriguing stat that Opta Pro tracked over the course of the 2018-19 season was how often a player moves their team into the attacking phase of play.

The results showed that 22-year-old De Jong was the highest-rated player in all of Europe when it came to moving play into the attacking phase the most per 90 minutes.

De Jong on the ball during a league game against Utrecht

Barca's newboy ranked first among midfielders, Messi was first out of all forwards, while the underrated Daley Blind out-performed every defender for movements into the attacking phase.

Other players to feature at the top end of Opta's graphic included Neymar, silky Bayern Munich technician Thiago and Chelsea maestro Jorginho - check it out below:

Opta's breakdown of the best players at moving their team into attack

So, De Jong was the best midfielder at progressing into attack, Messi was the best forward, and now they are about to play in the same team together week-in week out.

It's certainly a scary thought for teams in Spain that Messi could have another top player on his wavelength, and De Jong himself can't wait to combine with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

De Jong on "greatest ever" Messi

In February, Frenkie told Barcelona's website, via Onefootball: "I am excited (to play with Messi), I'm looking forward to it. In my opinion, he is the greatest player ever. It's difficult to define him.

Leo Messi celebrates one of his goals against Manchester United

"I think he is the most complete player. He can do everything with the ball and without, he creates a lot of chances, his left foot is amazing and he's so smart, just from another level."

Then, in May, the Dutchman joked, per Marca: "I'm very excited to see Messi during training. I think I'm only going to pass the ball to him."

What do YOU make of De Jong and Messi ranking first in progressing their team into attack? Do YOU think they will work well together at Barca next season? Drop YOUR opinions in the comments box below!

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