From Holland: Barcelona race to sign wonderkid before Man City, Guardiola’s interest has them convinced

Barcelona are moving quickly to try and secure the services of Ajax sensation Frenkie de Jong amid rival interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, Mike Verweij of De Telegraaf reports.

The versatile 21-year-old, who can play as a central midfielder or central defender, has been on Pep Guardiola’s radar for some time, but speculation died down after he renewed his Ajax contract until 2022 in December.

According to De Telegraaf however, City are still interested, as are PSG and Barcelona. And Barcelona made a play for the talented Dutch international on Sunday, proposing a €40million transfer fee and a one-year loan of De Jong back to Ajax.

Even with such an offer on the table, Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars said ‘no’ and according to club insiders, Frenkie is happy to remain at the Johan Cruijff Arena for another year and would like to leave as a champion.

Pep Guardiola’s interest is said to be the ‘ultimate confirmation’ to Barça that Frenkie is ready to play at the top.

Barcelona remain in a hurry to sign De Jong, conscious of the financial clout City and PSG have, and if he does decide to stick around for one more year, it could be good news for City, who have other targets this summer, specifically targetting a more experienced midfielder – namely Jorginho, with Mateo Kovačić and Jean Michaël Seri as alternative targets.

A year from now, Fernandinho will be 34 and possibly closer to his final days at the Etihad Stadium, which could prompt Guardiola to make a move for someone like De Jong.

Another Ajax starlet, Matthijs de Ligt, is also attracting serious interest from City and there has been speculation that he could arrive this summer, with a report from Italy last Wednesday even claiming that a €60million has gone in for the teenage defensive sensation.

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