While one of the weekend papers in England claimed Manchester City have almost struck a deal to sign Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, over in Spain they believe there’s still an active battle going on for the 21-year-old.
Mundo Deportivo speaks of an auction beginning for the Dutch international, while their fellow Barcelona-based newspaper SPORT brings potentially worrying news for fans of City or Barcelona who hope to see De Jong wearing their colours next season.
Brace yourselves: Real Madrid have officially joined the race, Albert Masnou of SPORT writes today. Los Blancos intend to start talks with Ajax soon in order to convince them to sell De Jong in January, since they do not want to wait until summer.
Real Madrid view De Jong as a replacement for Luka Modric in the same way City see him as Fernandinho’s successor and Barcelona believe him to be capable of filling Sergio Busquets’ boots. While none of those players are finished yet, their respective clubs will soon begin to phase them out and De Jong could rotate with and learn from them for now.
All is not lost for City and Barcelona however, with the report going on to state that those two clubs are more advanced in negotiations. Barcelona’s interest ‘has lost steam’ in recent weeks, but Manchester City are very much interested with the claim being that Txiki Begiristain has met both Ajax and the player on multiple occasions.
Real Madrid have the advantage of not having spent much last summer, meaning they could pay a huge transfer fee in January, and the feeling is that may be their best and only route to beating City or Barcelona to the player’s signature.