Frenkie de Jong was considered to be very hesitant to leave, and there was also a roadblock about the deferred wages he was owed, which the Red Devils and the Catalan club were involved in negotiations over for months.
De Jong will now take the field at Camp Nou on Thursday night against United, and Xavi claims the 25-year-old always wanted to stay at Barca because he is currently producing some of his greatest football.
In response to a question about whether the game would have special significance for De Jong, a target for United, Xavi said during the pre-game news conference: “I think he was pretty clear to me: he wanted to stay with us.
“Now that he is a member of our team, I am quite pleased and satisfied with his performances and leadership.
“He and the squad are all having a great time right now. The most crucial factor, in my opinion, is that Frenkie appears to be having fun on the field.”
Barcelona is unbeaten in 15 games in all competitions and is 11 points clear at the top of La Liga, while United has only lost once in 15 games since the season resumed, and that loss came on the road against the top-of-the-table Arsenal.
After placing sixth last season, Xavi believes Ten Hag has done an amazing job of resurrecting United as a serious contender.
He calls Ten Hag’s management style a “reference point” from which he draws inspiration.
“It will be a significant game. It’s a thrilling knockout round for all football fans who aren’t on team. Possibly both sides are entering in their finest shape of the season yet”, said the Spanish coach.
“I think Ten Hag has definitely transformed this team, at first, it was challenging, but now he’s doing a fantastic job.”