As expected following reports last night, Ajax star Frenkie de Jong has officially chosen Barcelona after interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
With the arrival of Frenkie De Jong we add talent, youth and Barça style to our sporting project. We are convinced that he will be a key part of our team for years to come. Welcome, Frenkie! pic.twitter.com/9HCHmrlqvj
— Josep Maria Bartomeu (@jmbartomeu) January 23, 2019
A saga spanning several months, all three of the main clubs credited with an interest were at some point said to be ahead of the others, but in recent times City’s interest appeared to become less intense for unclear reasons.
Financial Fair Play issues have been speculated, but Sam Lee of Goal says City did not pull out of the race for any reasons relating to FFP, and it is more likely to have been a result of De Jong’s escalating price-tag.
City were in for FDJ all the way (didn’t pull out due to FFP) but I guess that when Barca went above €70m asking price City decided not to match it, regardless of De Jong’s choice. Think this is what PG means by being quicker & more efficient – close deals before rivals come in.
— Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) January 23, 2019
Barcelona will pay an initial £65 million for De Jong with a further £9 million to follow in bonuses should certain objectives be met. The 21-year-old will join the Catalan giants at the end of the season and continue with Ajax for now.
It leaves questions as to who Manchester City’s main midfield target will be, with Pep Guardiola stating that he will not pay over the odds for a holding midfielder following suggestions Wolves value Ruben Neves as £100 million.
In addition to Neves, Lyon pair Tanguy Ndombele and Houssem Aouar are both thought to be on Pep’s radar, while Napoli’s Brazilian midfielder Allan is another name mentioned of late.