Among the many bright young midfielders in Europe, Frenkie de Jong is perhaps the most sought-after with most of Europe’s heavyweights having shown interest in signing the 21-year-old from Ajax.
De Jong will not leave Ajax until next summer but according to his agent, should choose his next club in the next few weeks in order to keep his mind focused on Ajax’s season.
Spanish newspaper AS has today posted its own take on the situation and where each club stands in the running for De Jong.
Like much of the press in Spain, Barcelona are presented as the front-runners with the Catalan club believing they are in a good position to sign De Jong, with the player reciprocating the interest. Barça believe that because he has grown at Ajax, a club with a similar philosophy to their own, created by Johan Cruyff, he is a perfect fit for their style of football.
Then there is Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, who it is strongly suggested are Barcelona’s main rivals for De Jong. Guardiola is described as having ‘extraordinary power of conviction’ and De Jong is also ‘seduced’ by the possibility of improving under the guidance of Pep, which makes City an intriguing possibility for the Dutchman.
Real Madrid’s interest is said to have cooled, perhaps linked to the management changes at the club and no guarantees on who will be in charge beyond this season.
Paris Saint-Germain are ready to hand over €75 million to Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars and have the financial power to sign him, but AS believes that Ligue 1 may not match the current sporting ambition of the player and that could work against the Parisiens.
Bayern Munich are also keen on De Jong but with PSG are seen as an outside bet at this point.
In the offices of Barcelona, nobody is speaking about De Jong, but according to AS, there would be a feeling of terrible disappointment if they miss out on him now. And it could be Manchester City who present the biggest threat to Barça’s hopes of signing the gifted young midfielder.