Barcelona won the race to sign Frenkie de Jong, confirming yesterday that the Ajax sensation will join them in the summer for an initial £65 million with a further £9 million in bonuses.
De Jong, 21, was high on Manchester City’s wish-list of midfielders to succeed Fernandinho, but for unconfirmed reasons – speculated to be the Ajax’s price-tag – fell behind in the race with Barcelona and PSG duking it out towards the end of the saga.
Before it became a question of transfer fee, City did make an approach to De Jong, with the player himself confirming Pep spoke to him.
“I spoke with Guardiola about a move to Man City,” De Jong told NOS. “Clubs all try to convince you when they want you. I am happy and proud that they did so much to get me.”
De Jong went on to explain that Barcelona has been his “dream club”, explaining why he eventually chose the Camp Nou after much deliberation.
“Barcelona have always been a dream club for me. The fact that they were so serious about getting me and that I have a good chance of getting playing time made the decision a bit easier.
“I already watched Barcelona as a kid and then when I was a bit more aware of the game you had the Guardiola era with all their successes. That turned me into an even bigger fan. I have always been a big fan of Messi, although I liked the entire team.”
City remain in search of a new a midfielder with the likes of Ruben Neves, Allan and Tanguy Ndombele among those being linked with a switch to the Etihad Stadium next summer.